Jan 26, 2021  
2017-18 RACC Student Catalog 
2017-18 RACC Student Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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ANT 245 - Culture and Religion

3 Credit Hours

This course examines theories proposed to explain the origin, function and persistence of supernaturalistic ideology, symbolism and ritual in both non-Western and Western societies as well as the social, cultural and political consequences of religious beliefs and differences.

Prerequisite(s): COM 121  or COM 122  

Semesters Offered: Spring


This course is designed to foster the knowledge, skills, and attitudes which will assist the student to successfully compare, contrast, and evaluate supernatural and scientific explanations for the origin, function, and persistence of religious belief and practice in human societies. Also, the student will gain a greater awareness of how world events are often shaped by religious beliefs and differences.


  1. Discuss theories proposed to explain the origin of supernaturalistic belief in human populations

  2. Evaluate theories proposed to explain the persistence and function of supernaturalistic belief and ritual in both non-Western and Western societies

  3. Identify cross-cultural universals in mythology

  4. Define such concepts as animism and mana

  5. Compare and contrast magic with other forms of religious behavior

  6. Explain why belief in divination, astrology, witchcraft, sorcery, ghosts, spirits and gods has been ubiquitous throughout human history and persists in modern nations.

  7. Compare and contrast rites of passage and rites of solidarity

  8. Discuss both the secular and religious explanations that have been given for trances, drinking poison, handling snakes, talking in tongues, the use of hallucinogenic drugs, food and other taboos, animal and human sacrifice, cannibalism, and belief in the afterlife or in reincarnation

  9. Evaluate millennial fear

  10. Compare and contrast scientific and religious explanations for near death experiences

  11. Explain the role of shamans and priests in human societies

  12. Explain why certain plants, animals and locations are believes to possess dangerous and/or beneficial supernatural powers

  13. Trace the origin, growth, and decline of revitalization movements, cults, and institutionalized religions

  14. Describe the social, cultural, and political consequences of religious differences

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