Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cabeiri Debergh Robinson
SIS 523
Seattle Campus

Seminar on Religious and Political Violence

Employs ethnographic studies and anthropological theory to examine the relationships between culture and power in the analysis of religious and political violence. Topics include modernity; secularisms and fundamentalisms; ritual, sacrifice, and martyrdom; law, rights, and subject-making. Offered: jointly with ANTH 523.

Class description

This seminar employs ethnographic studies and anthropological theory to examine the relationships between culture and power in the analysis of religious and political violence. In Winter 2009, the theme is ¡§Sacrificial States: Modernity and Martyrdom¡¨. This seminar aims to reconsider the disjuncture between studies of Apolitical violence@ and of Aritual violence@ in order to examine the religious and mythic insertion of ¡§sacrifice¡¨ into the public as a legitimizing mode for political struggle. This course considers the possibility that the legitimacy of political power as such in the modern nation-state is constructed through sacrifice and ritual purification, rather than through the institution of bourgeois property rights or civic protections of the citizen-subject.

Student learning goals

Students will gain mastery in these scholarly areas and skills: „X about theoretical issues in the anthropological study of contemporary political violence

„X about theoretical issues in the anthropological study of contemporary religious violence

„X how to identify and analyze the theoretical foundations of ethnographic descriptions of political and religious violence.

„X how to write a journal-quality book review.

„X how to use peer review to advance research and scholarship.

„X how to use flagship journals and citation tracking to build scholarly bibliographies

General method of instruction

Seminar discussion.

Recommended preparation

Graduate status in any social science or area studies program.

Class assignments and grading

Short writing assignments on weekly readings; seminar discussion; and research paper or annotated bibliography and literature review.

The final grade will reflect your full participation in this course weighted as follows: précis and participation 50%; final project 50%.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 10/16/2008