ANT6210EN - Advanced Symbolic Anthropology

Course description

Analysis of the function of ritual in context. It moves from key principles, to analysis of one's own context and formulation of questions to guide analysis. It culminates in use of these same questions to analyze ritual in a more culturally distant context.

How this course benefits students

Equip students to understand ritual in cultural context. We will work with practices with which they are familiar and then consider those from more distant cultures. On this, students will formulate a series of questions to explore ritual in context.

Why this course is important

It is easy to read about and categorize rituals. However, this does not give us a rich understanding of the why and how of ritual in context. By understanding our own ritual in context and developing a process of evaluating riutal in context, we will be equipped for any context.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. Boyd Johnson, Senior Professor of Missional Anthropology

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

Rituals serve to address issues of purpose, protection, and place. Jesus through His life, ministry, death and resurrection freed us to worship in Spirit and Truth and to share this with others.

Missionally driven

The goal of the course is to understand rituals in specific cultural context so that we can more effectively minister in those contexts. Wherever we live, and with and to whomever we minister, people will have rituals on which they rely.

Contextually informed

Rituals both fit and shape a specific context. When we learn to understand ritual in context, we understand the cultural context better and become more fully aware of our own.

Interculturally focused

Ritual is such a key component of each society that it often becomes a stumbling block for intercultural understanding. Being able to understand ritual in context will open up new venues for crosscultural understanding and ministry.

Practically minded

Ritual is both part of everyday life and part of key life events. Understanding ritual in context facilitates work, ministry, and meaningful communication.

Experientially transformed

Understanding ritual in context cannot be done by means of books or on-line searches, but means that we must seek out opportunities to observe ritual in context. We move out from our experience to see what others do so that we can better understand their ritual and our own.