Anthropology of Religion: Short Paper Topics

Text-based papers (choose at least one from this list):
1. Describe the women’s relationship to death in The Last Word.  How is the ideology of modernization changing women’s mourning rituals?
2. With reference to two or three texts read for the class, explain how – and why -- religious practice is experienced bodily.
3. Choose a theme from Warring Souls to analyze.  Possibilities include martyrdom; the role of the image during the Iranian Revolution and/or contemporary Tehran; veiling; sexuality.
4. Discuss the position of the ethnographer in Deadly Words.
5. What is the relationship between religion and capitalism?  Discuss with reference to the works of Taussig and Weber.

Ethnographic papers (choose at least one from this list):
1. Research religious and/or spiritual sites on the Internet and describe in detail two or three: layout, use of texts and images, chat rooms, etc.  Is there any evidence of ritual?  Or other kinds of symbolic activity?
2. Choose a cultural subgroup you are familiar with and describe its key symbol.  How does this symbol function as a “model of” and “model for” reality (cf Geertz)?
3. Do participant-observation of a ritual activity (at least two hours) and write up the results.  Describe the physical setting, what people said and did, what they wore, symbols and signs, prohibition and exhortations, reactions people had to your presence, and any interpretations you may have.

Due dates:
Paper #1: due 9/8 (already done!)
Paper #2: due 10/6
Paper #3: due 11/3
Paper #4: due 11/24

Last modified: Monday, December 19, 2011, 9:18 AM