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ANTH 021, Week 4

by: Katherine Reid

ANTH 021, Week 4 Anthro

Katherine Reid

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Week 4, Religion in Culture, Key Concepts in Writing Ethnographies + Pull of the Earth Discussion
Cultural Anthropology
Dr. Teresa Mares
Class Notes
Cultural Anthropology, Anthro, Anthropology, UVM, University of Vermont, Mares, Teresa Mares, religion, Ethnography, Pull of the Earth, Pull, EARTH, Laurie, Thorp, Laurie Thorp
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Katherine Reid on Tuesday April 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Anthro at University of Vermont taught by Dr. Teresa Mares in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see Cultural Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Vermont.


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Date Created: 04/12/16
Anthropology, Class 7 Worldview, Religion, & Art - The Linguists - Colonialism, Nationalism, Globalization - demonstrates these social processes - Colonialism: - boarding schools in India- way to bring marginalized communities into mainstream- HOMOGENIZATION of language (cultural dominance) - Native Americans in the US - Nationalism: - Russians in Siberia: Russia- “They can’t drink like us,” Russian national identity that contrasts that of the Chulym - Globalization: - South America: hip hop taking huge role (political) Making Meaning- Worldview, Religion, & Art - What is meant by “worldview?” what influences our worldview and how do we express our worldview? - What are the elements of religion that anthropologists study? - Wow is art through music theater and dance a vehicle for expressing our culture (and often our faith)? - Worldview: “An encompassing picture of reality based upon a set of shared assumptions about how the world works” - How is our worldview influenced? And how is it expressed? • Influences: Education- formal, informal social interactions, family/community values/practices, location/culture, privilege/social organization- gender, identity, race, economic status, etc., popular and unpopular media, religion, social media, personality, travel/world experiences • Expression: learned ideas and values and practices that individuals have been taught to respond to world situations with. Art-making, clothes you wear, every facet of our individual existence Anthropology and Religion - The study of religion was an early focus of cultural anthropologists - In the 19th century, focus was on “primitive” / non-Western religions - Current research looks at religion in all societies, including modern states - What are the functions of religion? • Coping with uncertainty, unknowable truths, life/death, suffering, grief, etc. • Moral guidelines • Sense of purpose • Serves as a community- social bonds • Serve as a vehicle for individual agenda/social control/ profit, etc. • Key places of education Religion vs. Magic - Religion can be defined as “ideas and practices that postulate reality beyond that which is immediately available to the senses.” - connecting to/thinking about reality that we can’t experience ourselves- the unknowable - Magic can be defined as “ritual practices that do not have technically or scientifically apparent effects but are believed by actors to have an influence on the outcome on practical matters.” - Magic is often seen as a way to intervene in reality and shape it differently. The language to do this can only be learned within specific group - Prayer is an attempt to shape reality as well, raises questions of social hierarchy - Magic- the actors are the ones who intervene, while in prayer, its more a supplication to something else to change the course of reality Myths - “Stories that recount how various aspects of the world came to be the way they are.” - Usually part of the oral (verbal) tradition - Do not have to be religious in nature - Ex. Santa Claus will come to bring you presents if they are good; how babies come from a stork (which functions as a way to avoid the truth until “age appropriate”); tooth fairy; American exceptionalism; etc. Doctrine - Direct and formalized statement about beliefs - It is written/encoded, but can and does change - Associated with state-level religions **Both myths and doctrines are ways of packaging beliefs, but different forms** Beliefs about Supernaturals - Concepts of otherworldly beings and impersonal forces • Animism- spiritual qualities in non-living things • Zoomorphic supernaturals- beings take animal form • Anthropomorphic supernaturals- beings take human forms • Pantheons- collectives of deities • Ancestors Beliefs about Sacred Space - Natural sites such as mountains, streams, some outcroppings, etc. - Culturally constructed sites that make a “natural” place sacred - “Animism” beliefs see souls and spirits imbued in natural things Rituals - Repetitive social practices - Life-cycle rituals • Separation, transition, reintegration - Pilgrimage • Ex. the Hajj to Mecca for Muslims - Rituals of Inversion • Throw off all social customs before becoming more strict in practice • Ex. Carnival in Bosa, Sardegna (Sardinia) - Sacrifice • Ex. Guinea pig sacrifice among the Kallawaya in Bolivia Contemporary Factors in Studying World Religion - Religious Pluralism: one or more religions coexist either as complementary to each other or as competing systems - Religious Conversion: Individuals or groups in question will adopt entirely new worldview, frequently a religious system - Religious Syncretism: creative synthesis of old and new religious practices (often by force) **Short Video: Hip Hop Hijabis “Poetic Pilgrimage”** - Worldview is shaped by pre- and post-conversion experiences; Accepted vs unaccepted/ disgust, etc. Converts testing the norms- seen by that community as disrespectful to values/ customs/ norms Anthropology, Class 8 ______________________________________________ Key Concepts in Reading (and Writing) Ethnographies - Representation: • Crisis of representation • Who represents? Who is represented? • More control of groups over how they themselves are represented - Reflexivity: • Ethnography is always a reflexive process- social interaction • Power and Positionally of researcher- grounds researcher in the field site and displaying the filters of worldview that may change the research position - Relevance: • Answers the “so what?” question • Where does the data end up? Pull of the Earth, Chapters 3-5 - Chapter 3 • Why did the garden become a place of connection… what wasn’t it? • What do we learn about these children’s basic needs? • What gifts does the garden provide? - Chapter 4 • What are some examples of how the garden inspired wonder? Why is this important? • What’s the connection between children and seeds? • Why is Laurie part of the magic of the garden? - Chapter 5 • What do these stories tell us about the children’s experiences in the garden? • How does this chapter contribute to the book’s polyvocality? - Genuine response from children, no second hand interpretation - counter-narratives provided another insight to the situation - more than just dominant researchers voice - triangulation: more points of evidence/ proof that can be documented, the stronger it is Book Reviews - 3-4 pages - double spaced, 12 font, times new roman - not a summary, offer original critique.analysis of strengths and weaknesses - address 4 main points, evidence/support - bring in some of the actual text, synopsis or direct quotes - What questions remain/ not address/etc.? - how does text connect to other concepts and ideas from class? Reinforce or challenge learning? - Relevance/significance - don’t use passive voice, use first person over passive - need to address all sections Outlining Paper Connection: How does this text connect to other concepts and ideas from class? Does it reinforce or challenge what you have learned? Why or why not? Significance: What are the main findings from the author’s research? How does the text help us to better understand human culture or society?


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