Myth, Ritual and Performance

Subject ANTH30003 (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2014.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 1 x 1.5 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week.
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Knowledge gained in completing any one of the following subjects is recommended but not required.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2
Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have completed ANTH30003 The Human Cosmos are not permitted to enrol in this subject.

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Gillian Tan

Subject Overview:

What is religion? What purposes does it serve? How does it vary across cultures? And why does its importance seem only to increase in this seemingly secular world? In this subject, we explore the ritual practices and symbolic systems that people throughout the world have used to make sense of their place in the social world, the environment, and the cosmos. Students will learn the core anthropological approaches to the study of religion by exploring images of mythic order and social transgression; the divergent functions of trance and shamanic practce in the twentieth century; the roles of religion in social movements; the meaning of pilgrimage; the rise of millenarian and occult movements and the problems of fundamentalism, relativism, and science in the contemporary world. Case studies will be drawn from Africa, South America, North America, Asia and Melanesia.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who sucessfully complete this subject will:

  • have acquired a grounding in the anthropological and comparative study of religion;
  • have acquired a knowledge of the principal theories and methods employed by anthropologists in the analysis of myth and ritual systems;
  • have a knowledge of the range of varieties of religious experience and representation in the world's societies.

Two 500 word tutorial papers (15% each) due during the semester, and a 3000 word essay (70%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial attendance. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:
  • A book of readings will be available from the University Book Shop and online through LMS prior to the start of semester.
  • Rappaport, R.A. Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who sucessfully complete this subject will:

  • have practice in conducting research and speaking articulately;
  • have practice in writing clearly in a variety of formats and reading with attention to detail;
  • have experience of systematically evaluating a body of empirical data and identifying its theoretical context;
  • have experience of methods of critical inquiry and argument leading to improved analytical skills;
  • have acquired awareness of issues relating to cross-cultural communication.
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
Related Breadth Track(s): Anthropology - ritual, meaning and performance

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