nl en

Method and Theory in the Study of Religion


Admission requirements

BA-courses in the Study of Religion & Comparative Religion


This seminar is devoted to recent discussions and debates in the academic study of religion. It is divided over two different fields of debate: the issue of comparison (including that of the definition of “religion” and the challenges posed by post-modern and post-colonial critique of the study of religion) will be the subject of the first half. The second half will be devoted to structuralism and cognition theory (C. Lévi-Strauss, H. Whitehouse), and the action theory of C. Geertz and P. Bourdieu.

Course objectives

Students will learn how to critically discuss and apply theoretical insights in the study of religion. They will be made aware of the fact that theory and empirical research are inseparable and they will be challenged to apply theoretical discussions to their own historical or social-scientific research in religion.



Mode of instruction

Seminar with readings and presentations.

Assessment method

Presentation + final paper.


Blackboard will be used as an archive and a means of communication.

Reading list

Representative recent articles, to be announced.


Via uSis.
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply.

Contact information

prof dr A.F. De Jong
dr. W. Hofstee