Social/Cultural Anthropology Topic Introduction: Religion has been essential to anthropology from its inception:

Where did it originate?

Is it universally applicable?

Are there universal ‘needs’ that religion satisfies?

Is religion, as Protestant-influenced traditions assume, always about belief or ‘faith,’ or is it more about ritual solidarity and/or interaction with the unseen world? What about rebellious rituals?

Anthropologists have made significant contributions to the study of ritual via their research of diverse communities worldwide and their attention on the vernacular practises of global religions.

Essay Question:

How far does Geertz follow his own interpretive credo and his own definition of religion in his ethnographic works?

Geertz’s definitions: Geertz, C. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays, esp. Introduction,

*‘The Balinese Cockfight’,

*‘Person, Time, and Conduct in Bali’ Geertz, C. 1983.

Local Knowledge:

Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology For his definition of religion, see the chapter *‘Religion as a Cultural System’ Geertz’s ethnographies of religion and ritual: Geertz, C. 1960. The Religion of Java. Glencoe: The Free Press. Geertz, C. 1968. Islam Observed: Religious Development in Morocco and Indonesia, New Haven: Yale Univ. Press. Geertz, C. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures, Ch 6: *‘Ritual and Social Change: A Javanese Example’ [about the funeral that doesn’t take place]. Geertz, C. 1980. Negara: The Theatre State in 19th-Century Bali. Princeton Univ. Press. Critiques: Asad, T. 1983. ‘Anthropological Conceptions of Religion: Reflections on Geertz’ Man. Martin, R.C. ‘Geertz Observed: Understanding Islam as a Cultural System’ in R.L. Moore and F.E. Reynolds (eds) Anthropology and the Study of Religion, Chicago: Center for the Study of Religions Remarks:

Please use multiple and close-up ethnographic examples of Geertz to form an argument. If possible, use British English.

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