Anthropology of Religion

Course description Anthropology of Religion
Year: 2017-2018
Catalog number: 6493ARH
  • Dr. E. de Maaker
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 10
Level: 300
Period: Semester 2, Block III, IV
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • Yes Exchange
  • Yes Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class

Admission requirements

Only the following categories of students can register for this course:

  • Students enrolled for the BA programme “CA-DS” at Leiden University who are in their 3rd year
  • Students enrolled for the Minor CA-OS
  • Exchange and Study Abroad students who have been admitted to this course
  • Pre-master students who have completed their Admission procedure for the master CA-DS and have been formally admitted to this course as part of the pre-master programme.

Please see the registration procedure below.


Until a couple of decades ago, the general assumption was that the emergence of ‘modernity’ would result in a gradual decline of religion. In parts of Western Europe (such as the Netherlands and Britain), over the past century, institutionalised religion has indeed lost a lot of ground, but elsewhere this has not been the case. But even there where institutionalised religion went into decline, this has not resulted in the disappearance of religion from the public domain. What it did result in, however, was the relationship between religion and the state being questioned even stronger than before. The global claims inherent in most religions result in people defining themselves at once in a local and a trans-national sphere. Consequently, globalisation and modernity provide contexts in which religion, and the religious, attain new shapes. How is modernity transforming religious traditions? In what ways is religion being redefined, as globalization changes people’s orientation, and the networks through which they maintain social, economic and political relationships? In what ways can an ideology such as nationalism be understood to substitute religion? The exploration of religion and modernity in a global context can provide new and challenging perspectives on processes of modernization.

Course objectives

The course intends to familiarize students with the major anthropological and sociological debates on religion, secularism and global modernity; to get acquainted with methodological approaches to the study of religion; and to equip students to pursue further studies in the field of religious practices.

Time table

Dates and room numbers can be found on our website, under "3e jaar, Hoorcolleges S2".

Mode of instruction

10 ECTS = 280 sbu (study hours)

  • Lectures 12 × 2 hours (36 sbu)
  • Group discussions 12 × 1 h (24 sbu)
  • Study of literature 675 pp (112 sbu)
  • Assignments / Paper t.b.a.

Assesment method

to be announced later


The blackboard module will be active.
All participants must register for this course on Blackboard.

Reading list

To be announced on Blackboard.


  • Registration in Usis is obligatory for the lectures (H) for all participants. Please consult the course registration website for information on registration periods and further instructions.
  • Registration for the exam is NOT necessary because this course does not have one final (classical) exam.

NB: Exchange students: those who have officially been admitted to this course during the Admission Procedure, will be registered in usis by the faculty-administration.


Dr. Erik de Maaker