units

ATS3374

Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

print version

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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LevelUndergraduate
FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitAnthropology
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)Dr Matt Tomlinson

Notes

Previously coded ANY3180

Synopsis

This unit presents witchcraft as a topic integral to the anthropology of religion, relevant both to earlier generations of scholars attempting to study religion objectively and to present-day scholars exploring witchcraft as a cultural phenomenon in the industrialised West. In this unit, students approach the study of witchcraft from both angles, asking: Why have narratives of witchcraft circulated so successfully in different cultural contexts for long historical periods? In what ways do pagan groups borrow from mainstream ideologies and practices, and in what ways subvert them? How can anthropologists investigate the interplay between religious practices and their representations?

Outcomes

After successfully completing this unit, students will be able to:

a. discuss the development of anthropological theories of religion through the lens of ethnographic work on witchcraft

b. identify key definitions of witchcraft in the anthropological canon, and discuss their relevance to studies of modern neopagan religious movements

c. discuss the emerging ethnography of modern neopagan religious movements

d. use specific case studies to evaluate the validity of generalisations about witchcraft.

For students taking the unit at Level 3 as part of a major in Anthropology there is the additional objective of:

e. critically evaluating how the literature on witchcraft has contributed to broader developments in anthropological theory.

Aims: Students are expected to develop their abilities to:

  1. use analytic and interpretive skills in dealing with ethnographic accounts
  2. read written sources and view visual material critically
  3. assess their own preconceived ideas about what witchcraft is
  4. present logical, coherent arguments both orally and in writing.

Assessment

Participation : 10%
In-class exam (1000) : 20%
Research essay 1 (1500) : 30%
Research essay 2 (2000) : 40%
Students taking the unit at Level 3 as part of a major in Anthropology will be required in their essays to show how the literature on witchcraft has contributed to broader developments in anthropological theory.

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

2 hour seminar

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Prohibitions

Either ATS2374 or ATS3374 but not both