381-HTD-VA, Anthropology of the Supernatural
Belief in the supernatural is universal - it exists in all societies. In this course we approach the study of belief systems three ways: 1) by examining magical, religious, spiritual and shamanistic beliefs and practices world-wide; 2) by looking at some of the theories that explain the origin, evolution and function of belief systems; and, 3) exploring the ways in which beliefs in the supernatural shapes world views and influences social and political behavious. Throughout the course, students will have an opportunity to reflect on how our society’s beliefs in the supernatural are reflected in various institutions (media, legal system, medicine, etc.) and in our personal day-to-day activities.