Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


What is religion? This unit explores how anthropologists and sociologists have approached religion as a central domain of human experience and asks whether it is analytically useful to take religion as a discreet category. Beginning with foundational thinkers like Durkheim, Weber, Marx and Freud, the unit explores the relationship between religion and other realms of social, political and economic life. The unit offers an introduction to evolutionary, functional, structural, psychoanalytical and symbolic perspectives that have been influential not only in the study of religion, but in the disciplines of Sociology and Anthropology more generally. Drawing on classical anthropological studies of small-scale societies, recent studies of contemporary globalised religion and original ethnographic research, students explore religious phenomena such as ritual, belief, possession, magic, sorcery and conversion.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in the anthropology and sociology of religion including cultural diversity, social inequality, the nature of social relationships and institutions, systems of symbolic meaning, and processes that underpin social and cultural change; (2) demonstrate knowledge of one of the oldest subfields of anthropology and sociology in historical context, with a particular focus on the diverse ways that scholars have defined and studied religion, and understand the ways that definitions of religion are mobilised in contemporary debates; (3) demonstrate an ability to critically review, analyse, sumarise and synthesise anthropological and sociological research and theory focused on religion; (4) demonstrate an ability to formulate, investigate and discuss anthropologically and sociologically informed research questions and develop arguments based on a critical evaluation of evidence; and (5) demonstrate an ability to communicate anthropological and sociological ideas, principles and knowledge to specialist and non-specialist audiences using a range of formats (written, oral, visual etc.).


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation/preparation; (2) assignment; and (3) essay or other research exercise. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit rules
any Level 1 ANTH unit
ANTH2203 Religion
Contact hours
up to 3 hours per week
This unit is comprised of lectures, workshops and small group discussions, which depend upon attendance. LCS (Lecture Capture System) recordings may be available as a supplement but not as a replacement for scheduled class activities.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.