Theories of Religion

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Course Description

\What is religion? In this course, we will review several "classic" attempts
to develop comprehensive theories of religion. Theories considered will
include those of E. B. Tylor, James Frazer, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Emile
Durkheim, Mircea Eliade, William James, Rudolf Otto, Max Weber, E. E.
Evans-Pritchard, and Clifford Geertz. Readings will be a combination of
original writings of these figures and secondary scholarship about their views
on religion.

Student Karma and Rebirth Websites:

Will Mason's Theories of Religion Page


Previously Offered:

Spring 1999, Spring 2000, Spring 2001, Autumn 2002 (Tutorial Version),
Spring 2002, Spring 2003


Next Offered:

Spring 2004


To Register

Washington University Online Course Catalog

WebSTAC (online course registration)


Also of Potential Interest

Go to Comparative Religion Page
Go to
Comparative Mythology Page
Go to
Comparative Civilization Page
Go to
Comparative Law Page
Go to
Business, Economics, and Religion Page
Go to
Sociology of Religion Page
Go to
Minorities and Civil Rights Page
Go to
Utopia and Cooperative Living Page
Go to
Medical Humanities Page
Go to
Folklore and Folklife Page
Go to
Parapsychology Page


Notes and Links

[This page is under development]


History of Anthropology Newsletter


Definitions of Religion

The University of California Department of Religious Studies website features a different
definition of reliigion every time you log on, including quottions from Catharine Albanese,
Peter Berger, Jonathan Z. Smith, Emile Durkheim, and others. Check it out!

AAR Project:
"Contesting Religion and Religions Contested: The Study of Religion in a Global Context"



[This page is under development]


Course Web Page (TBA)



Threaded Keywords

(Folllow these keywords to other courses taught by me (or Prof. Timalsina),
numerically ranked by relevance. The end of each thread is indicated by
an arrow; this will lead you back to the "
MIscellaneous Teaching Interests"
page, or to another faculty member's website, or to a topical website.
Students are encouraged to write papers or give presentations on these topics).

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[African Religion 1>>]

[American Civil Religion 2]

[American Civilization 3]

[American Pragmatism 1]

[Anekantavada (Jaina Doctrine of Manifold Aspects) 3>>]

[Anomaly Containment 3>>]

[Anthropology of Religion 2>>]

[Aristocracy, Caste, and Class (America) 2>>]

[Asad, Talal 1>>]

[Asceticism (Types of) 1>>]

[Bafflement, Suffering, and Ethical Paradox (the Problem of Meaning) 1]

[Bainbridge, William Sims 1>> ]

[Benedict, Ruth 1>>]

[Berger, Peter 1>>]

[Bloom, Allan 1>>]

[Boas, Franz 1>>]

[Boundary Maintenance 5>>]

[Bourgeois Religiosity 1>>]

[Business Ethics 1]

[Calvinism 1]

[Canons and Orthodoxies 12]

[Capitalism and Religion 1>>]

[Caste, Class, and Aristocracy (in America) 2]

[Charisma (Types of) 1]

[Charisma (Routinization of) 1]

[Charismatic Healing 3>>]

[Charismatic Religious Authority 1]

[Christian Science 2]

[Civilization and its Discontents 1>>]

[Classical Marxism 1>>]

[Classical Theories of Religion 1>>]

[Community and Society (Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft) 1]

[Comparative Civilization / Civilizational Studies 4>>]

[Comparative Methodology 1]

[Conceptual Foundations of Science 4]

[Cultural Studies 1>>]

[Culture and Personality Studies 1>>]

[Deconstructionism 3>>]

[Derrida, Jacques 2>>]

[Devotionalism 8]

[Disneyland, Disneyization, Disneyification]

[Dispensationalism 3>>]

[Dividualism and Individualism 6>>]

[Douglas, Mary 1>>]

[Dream Interpretation 6]

[Durkheim, Emile 1]

[Economic Models for the Study of Religion 1>>]

[Education Reform 1]

[Eliade, Mircea 2]

[Elites and Elitisms 9>>]

[Empowered and Disempowered Elites 2]

[Enlightenment and Its Discontents 2>>]

[Enlightenment Values and Categories 2>>]

[Essentialism and Anti-Essentialism 2]

[Ethnocentrism 2>>]

[Ethnosociology 7]

[Evans-Pritchard, E. E. 1>>]

[Evil and Suffering 8]

[Evolution (Scientific Theories) 2>>]

[Experiential and Emotionalist Theories of Religion 1>>]

[False Consciousness 1]

[Formalist / Structuralist / Post-Structuralist Theories 2>>]

[Frazer, Sir James 1]

[Freud, Sigmund 1>>]

[Fundamentalism and Anti-Fundamentalism 2]

[Geertz, Clifford 1]

[Globalization / Localization / Glocalization 5]

[Goals of Life 3]

[Great Books 1]

[Hacker, Paul 3>>]

[Hermeneutics 1]

[History of Anthropology 1>>]

[History of Ideas 1]

[History of Religion 1]

[History of Religious Studies 1>>]

[History and Sociology of Science 3>>]

[History of Social Science 1]

[Humanistic Anthropology 1]

[Humanistic Psychology 1]

[Humanistic Soclology 1]

[Hume, David 1>>]

[Humor and Religion 4]

[Hutchins, Robert Maynard 1]

[Ideological Distortion 2]

[Ideology and Religious Studies 1>>]

[Ideology and Utopia 1]

[Imperialism and Scholarship 1]

[Inclusivism and Tolerance 3]

[Intellectual History of Social Science 1]

[Intellectual Property Rights Issues 2]

[James, William 1]

[Jameson, Fredric 2>>]

[Jokes and Religion 2>>]

[Jung, C. G. 3]

[Jungian Psychology 2]

[Karma and Rebirth 12>>]

[King, Richard 2>>]

[Law and Religion 2]

[Levi-Strauss, Claude 1]

[Linguistic Models for the Study of Religion 1]

[Magic (Types of) 2]

[Malinowski, Bronislaw 1>>]

[Mannheim, Karl 1]

[Marcuse, Herbert 1]

[Marx, Karl 1]

[Mauss, Marcel 1>>]

[Methodology of the Humanities 2]

[Methodology of the Social Sciences 1]

[Models "Of" and Models "For" 1]

[Modernism 4>>]

[Monks, Monasticism, and Monachism 5]

[Morris, William 2]

[Multiculturalism and Religion 1]

[Multidimensional and Anti-Reductionistic Theories of Religion 1]

[Mysticism (Types of) 1]

[Myths, Models, and Paradigms 1]

[Nagarjuna 3>>]

[Neo-Comparativism 1]

[Neo-Marxism 1]

[Neo-Weberian Thought 1>>]

[New Age Spirituality 7]

[New Age Stereotypes 10]

[New Religious Movements (NRMs) 7]

[New Thought / Mind Cure 1]

[Nietzsche, Friedrich 1]

[Nudity (Ascetic, Hedonistic, and Ritual) 1]

[Numinous, Non-Rational, and Irrational Religion 1]

[Old Lights and New Lights 4>>]

[Oral History 5]

[Organic Models for the Study of Religion 3>>]

[Organic Solidarity and Mechanical Solidarity 1]

[Orgies (Religious Significance of) 1]

[Orientalism and Anti-Orientalism 1]

[Orientalism and the Post-Colonial Predicament 1>>]

[Orientalism and Religion 1]

[Orthodoxies and Heterodoxies 11>>]

[Other Peoples' Myths 1]

[Otherness and Sameness 1]

[Otto, Rudolf 1]

[Pain 4]

[Panikkar, Raimundo 1]

[Paradigm Shifts 1]

[Parsons, Talcott 1>>]

[Particularism 3]

[Peasant and Proletarian Religiosity 1]

[Peirce, C S 1]

[Personhood 9]

[Philosophy of Education 1]

[Philosophy of Religion 1>>]

[Political Correctnesses 2]

[Political Philosophy 1]

[Politicization of Scholarship 2>>]

[Populism and Religion 2]

[Postcolonialism 1]

[Postmodern Religion 4>>]

[Postmodernism and Its Discontents 1]

[Post-Protestantism 3>>]

[Post-Reagan 1>>]

[Poststructuralism 2>>]

[Pragmatism and Religion 1]

[Predestination 1]

[Pre-postmodernism 4>>]

[Priests (Typologies of) 1>>]

[Prophecy (Typologies of) 1>>]

[Protestant Establishment 2]

[Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 1>>]

[Protestantocentrism 1]

[Propp, Vladimir 2>>]

[Psychoactive Drugs 5]

[Psychology and Religion 1]

[Public Culture 2]

[Purusharthas (Hindu Goals of Life) 3>>]

[Race and Racism (in America) 2]

[Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. 1>>]

[Rational Choice and Intellectualist Theories of Religion 1>>]

[Redfield, Robert 2>>]

[Reification 1]

[Religion (Definitions of) 1>>]

[Religion and Economics 1>>]

[Religion and Practical Reason 1>>]

[Religious Authority (Typologies of) 1>>]

[Religious Therapeutics 4]

[Renouncers and Renunciation 8]

[Resurrection Myths 5]

[Revolution and Religion 1]

[Rites of Passage 4>>]

[Ritual Process 1]

[Ritualist Theories of Religion 1]

[Romanticism 2]

[Rousseau, Jean Jacques 1>>]

[Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber 1>>]

[Russian Formalism 2>>]

[Sacred and Profane 1>>]

[Sacrifice 1]

[Sahlins, Marshall 1>>]

[Said, Edward 1]

[Science and Religion 7]

[Secularism 1]

[Secularization 1]

[Semiotics / Semiology 2]

[Shils, Edward 1]

[Singer, Milton 2>>]

[Smart, Ninian 1]

[Smith, Jonathan Z. 1>>]

[Smith, Wilfred Cantwell 1>>]

[Sociobiology and Its Critics 1>>]

[Social Anthropology of Civilization 2>>]

[Social Class and Religion 1]

[Social Control Issues and the Study of Religion 2>>]

[Social Uses of Social Science 1]

[Socialism 1]

[Sociobiology of Religion 1>>]

[Sociology of Knowledge 1]

[Sociology of Religion 1]

[Stark, Rodney 1>>]

[Structuralist Social Thought 2>>]

[Structure of Scientific Revolutions 1]

[Stocking, George 1>>]

[Subaltern Stereotypes 2]

[Subalternization 2]

[Subaltern Studies 3]

[Thaumaturgical Healing 2>>]

[Theodicy and Cosmodicy (the Problem of Evil) 9]

[Transmigration 11]

[Transnational Cultural Studies 3]

[Two Truths (Ultimate and Conventional) in Indian Philosophy 6]

[Tylor, E. B. 1>>]

[UFO Cults 4]

[Universalism 2]

[Urban Legends ("Friend of Friend" Tales) 2]

[Use and Abuse of Biology 1>>]

[Use and Abuse of History 1>>]

[Utopian Traditions 1]

[Van Gennep, Arnold 1>>]

[Varieties of Religious Experience 1>>]

[Victorian Anthropology 1>>]

[Violence Against Women 9>>]

[Vulgar (Ideological) Deconstructionism 1>>]

[Vulgar (Ideological) Sociobiology 1>>]

[Weber, Max 1]

[Weberian and Anti-Weberian Social Thought 1]

[Women and Religion 11]

[Work Ethics 1]

[World Bourgeoisie 1]

[Xenology 1]


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