Professor Anya Bernstein
What happened to religion in the modern world? We start off by exploring traditional anthropological themes, such as animism, magic, and ritual, while paying particular attention to the classic secularization thesis advanced by social scientists. We will then focus on the crucial contemporary issues, such as debates on secularism and blasphemy, religion and sexuality, globalization and commodification of religion, links between religion, science and technology, millennial movements, “new age" spirituality, and the role religious practices and ideas play in the construction of history and memory. This course is not a survey of specific religions, but a theoretical introduction to the main themes in the anthropological study of religion.