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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Cabeiri Debergh Robinson
RELIG 502
Seattle Campus

Religion in Comparative Perspective

Analysis of selected theme or symbols in relation to several different religious traditions. Topics vary. Prerequisite: admission to the comparative religion MAIS program or permission of instructor. Offered: W.

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

theoretical issues in the anthropological study of contemporary political violence

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

scholarly bibliographies

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

how to write a journal-quality book review.

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

how to use peer review to advance research and scholarship.

General method of instruction

Seminar discussion.

Recommended preparation

Graduate status in the Comparative Religions 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 Loryn Hazan Paxton
Date: 11/04/2008