Online Ant 213
Anthropology of Magic, Witchcraft & Religion 








































































Syllabus - Spring 2003
I. Course Description 

The course presents interpretations of religious belief and practice in a variety of cultures from an anthropological perspective emphasizing cultural relativism. Students will [1] study a variety religious beliefs and practices in a variety of  cultures,  [2] examine theories concerning psychological, social and cultural functions of religion, and [3] learn concepts useful in interpreting religious practices in their indigenous social settings.

II. Professor
III. Required Books

You will need the following books for this course. Be careful to buy the correct edition of each book. To be sure, use the ISBN. 

  • Bowen, John R. 
    2001 Religions in Practice: An approach to the anthropology of religion. Second edition. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN 0-205-33632-9
  • Hicks, David (editor). 
     2002. Ritual and belief: Readings in the anthropology of religion. Second edition. New York & London: McGraw-Hill College. ISBN 0-07-241489-8

Books are available at the Prince George's Community College bookstore either at the Largo Campus (301-322-0912) or online at You can also find them at other online bookstores such as Amazon or Barnes and Nobel.

IV. Leaning Outcomes

When students completed this course they should be able to:

  • Distinguish among social, cultural and emotional explanations of religious beliefs and practices
  • Use ethnographic examples from the required readings to illustrate cross-cultural differences in religious beliefs and practices
  • Understand and explain how anthropologists analyze religious beliefs and practices to see their connections to other domains (such as kinship, political life, economy, epistemology [how to know things], misfortune,  concepts of   health/illness,  deviancy,  social organization, enculturation/socialization) of a society's culture.
  • Know the difference in a culturally relative interpretation and an ethnocentric explanation of a religious practice.
V. Course Elements and Policies

This is a distance learning course. Students must complete all course requirements indicated below in their appropriate sequence and in a timely fashion. This may be done by frequently checking & adhering to the due dates indicated in the Blackboard course calendar. 

  • Quizzes: (Required) 
    Scheduled, required quizzes are taken on-line & must be completed during their respective windows of availability (see the calendar). They consist of a variable number of multiple choice, true/false and/or short answer questions. They are available online for several days. Once the last date for taking a quiz has passed, no make up quiz will be given for that module. Quiz grades are cumulatively added throughout the semester. Once you reach the maximum number of  allowed points for quizzes, additional quiz points will not count toward your semester grade.
  • Discussion Board Conferences: (Required) 
    The purpose of these conferences is to stimulate discussion among class members about the topic and required readings in each module. The schedule and the rules for conference participation are found in the online class room. Points earned for conferences are cumulative and there are no make ups for missed conferences. 
  • Essay Assignments: (Required)
    There are brief entrance and exit essays. There are also somewhat longer internet assignment essays (4) and analytical essays (2). All are submitted as MSWord .doc files or Rich Text .rtf files to the Blackboard Digital Drop Box by the dates indicated in the Bb course calendar. The instructions for writing them are found in the  Bb Assignments area.
  • Chats: (Optional) 
    On-line chats are conducted about every three weeks (check Bb course calendar and Bb  announcements) during the semester. 
  • Comprehensive Exam: (Required)
    This proctored comprehensive exam covers all the required reading and internet assignments in the course. It is given at your campus' testing center.  The exam may be taken twice during the semester, but only once at each of the two scheduled opportunities -- one around  midsemester and one during finals week. If a student takes the exam more than once, the highest grade earned will be used toward the final semester grade.
VI. Course Assignments
Entrance Essay (1 required)  10 ea 10
Analytical Essays (2 required) 

You have four (4) chances (with deadlines) to write two (2) analytical essays. If you write more than two (2) essays, then the highest two (2) grades count. If you miss a deadline, then do the next one. No make-ups given 

100 ea  200

Internet Assignment Essays (4 required) 

You have six (6) chances (with deadlines) to write four (4) internet assignment essays.  If you write more than four, the highest four will count. No make-ups are allowed. If you miss a deadline, then do the next one. 

50 ea  200

Online Discussion Board Conferences
(required; at least 10 available)

Conference grades accumulate until the maximum usable number is reached. Additionally points over the maximum do not count toward the semester grade Conferences are time sensitive and there are no make-ups.

26 ea  235

On-line Quizzes (required; at least 11 available)

Quiz grades accumulate until the maximum is earned. The quizzes are based on Quizzes are based on the required readings.  No make-ups for missed quizzes.

14 ea  135
Exit Essay (1 required) 20 ea  20
Comprehensive Exam (1 required) 

The proctored on-campus exam may be taken twice, once early in course & once during finals week. Highest grade counts.

200 ea  200


VII. Grade


Letter Grade Points Needed
A 900-1000
B 800-899
C 700-799
D 600-699
F 0-599