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Anthropology and Religion


Admission requirements

This course is only open to students of Religiewetenschappen and as an elective for students of Midden-Oostenstudies: Islamstudies.
This course is open to electives provided there is sufficient space. For more information, contact the study coordinator for Religiewetenschappen,


This course provides an overview of important themes from the anthropology of religion based on James S. Bielo, Anthropology of Religion: The Basics (Routledge, 2015). The point of departure is that religion is something that people do. The anthropology of religion focuses in particular on the concrete ways in which people shape religion: through rituals, texts, objects, images, sounds and body. Students read literature selected topics from the anthropology of religion and submit assignments on these readings, including summaries, critical discussion, searching for examples in the literature, producing an overview scheme and writing an overview reflection.

Course objectives

After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Recognize and name theoretical and methodological issues related to anthropological research;

  • Illustrate, on the basis of concrete examples, how researchers have dealt with these issues;

  • Critically assess these approaches;

  • Report on this in writing to an audience consisting of specialists and non-specialists;

  • Synthesize the acquired knowledge through an overview scheme and a written reflection on the course.
    Transferable skills
    After completing the course, students should be able to:

  • Be able to critically evaluate published research in relation to theoretical and methodological trends;

  • Be able to identify and concisely summarise arguments from academic literature;

  • Improve their oral presentation skills;

  • Improve their skills in written English.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

The final mark will be determined as a weighted average of two marks:

  • 5 short assignments about literature read (40%);

  • An ethnography book review (60%).
    Students will also need to give an oral presentation on the ethnography chosen for the final assignment (pass/fail).
    All assignments must be submitted. In the absence of one assignment, no final grade is calculated

The final mark for the course is determined through a weighted average of the grades given for the essay and the book review.

Students producing unsatisfactory work for their ethnography book review will be asked to submit a new piece on a different topic for the resit (60%).

Assignments will be graded via Brightspace.

Reading list

James S. Bielo, 2015, Anthropology of Religion: The Basics. Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

Further readings will be announced during the first lecture.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the



  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof


Onderdeel van deze cursus is een module Academische Varadigheden: mondelinge presentatievaardigheden.

Leerdoelen module: Mondelinge presentatievaardigheden Studenten:

•hebben technieken verworven voor het houden van een mondelinge presentatie; •kunnen een helder en beargumenteerd betoog houden in een wetenschappelijke stijl, met optimaal gebruik van presentatietechnieken; •beschikken over een goede spreek- en presentatietechnieken.

De drie bijeenkomsten vinden op een ander moment dan de reguliere colleges plaats. Schrijf je in via usis op usiscode 5071VMEN1. je vindt de roostertijden op MyTimetable