ANTH2402 Religion in Society

6 points
Not available in 2020UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Anthropology and Sociology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
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.
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.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Sam Han
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.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.