Oct 17, 2018  
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

ANTH 3300 - Myth, Ritual, and Symbol

Hours: 4
Human beings are not just tool-makers, we are meaning-makers: we operate through the construction of symbols and systems of relations between symbols. In this course, we take language to be the most foundational of these meaning-systems, and build on a semiotic understanding of language and culture to examine and explore the building blocks of rituals and mythologies: cultural meanings and associations around the human body and animals (clan totems and elephant gods), kinship roles and meanings (mother deities, spiritual brotherhoods), the practice of magic and other rituals (sacrifice, communion, and incantation), and the construction of religious belief and cosmology (mythologies, sacred texts). In the process, we will strive to understand and analyze our own social, religious, and political context from an anthropological perspective, comprehending the pervasive power of symbolism in the motivation of human existence.