Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1991


Course syllabus for ANTH 35AW Beliefs and Believers

Course description: "Beliefs and Believers" is a trimester length exploration into the nature and function of belief structures or "worldviews." These worldviews exist in formal organized entities such as traditional religions or as political and personal ideologies, such as feminism or environmentalism. Worldviews do not exist in a vacuum. The dynamic, living relationship between a religious organization or worldview and its immediate cultural environment provides a "living laboratory" for the study of beliefs and believers. In this course, representatives from a wide variety of religious and secular perspectives will help students develop an understanding of what they believe and why they believe it. Students will gain some initial exposure to the religious systems of major world religious institutions, such as new age religions, neo-paganism, and "civil religion." It is anticipated that students by developing their skills of worldwide analysis may then begin to apply them in their own encounters with different belief systems.