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Method and Theory in the Study of Religion: An Anthropological Approach

The anthropology of religion is a discipline-specific endeavor. British Functionalism, French Structuralism, American cultural anthropology—the history of anthropological thought can be taught through the very category of religion. But what of the study of religion’s continued rapprochement with the anthropology of religion? How might the study of religion, a discipline in its own right, draw upon anthropological approaches to religion without succumbing to discipline-specific debates? This graduate course addresses this methodological question through a reading intensive course. While its success will turn on the entire class keeping up with the readings for each week, its lasting effect will depend on the student’s ability to appreciate not so much the history of anthropological thought or the anthropology of religion but rather what this course ultimately calls “anthropological approaches to the study of religion.”


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

Kevin Lewis O'Neill

University of Toronto

Public College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Graduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, Anthropology

General Comparative Traditions
Religous Tradition


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