anthro101lec22.mar12.y08

anthro101lec22.mar12.y08 - Anthropology 101 Winter 2008...

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Anthropology 101 Tom Fricke Winter 2008 03.12.08 Anthropological Approaches to Religion [Note: These notes contain a few examples not covered in class -- focus on concepts and definitions; use the examples to help you understand] I. Some thoughts to start with A. we ended last week by saying that religion and the everyday are joined -- these are not separate domains (the idea of their separation is itself something we inherit from our own cultural tradition -- but Geertz’s definition makes it clear that there is no separation. B. Look at how others see this: Yhebe Ghale on the soldiers at the work camps: “When they first take a look at me,“ he told me, “they think I'm simple. They try to joke at my expense. But then I tell them that I, too, was in the military, that when I was a soldier we didn’t do these worthless things. If all you want to do is ruin another person's daughter then you are barely human, I told them. People who would use these girls like this would sell their own lives if they could. Poor people do this labor. The children of poor people come to do this labor and they only think of using them! They use these people today to satisfy their appetites. By the next day they'll be forgotten! And this is what I said to those soldiers! These people without dharma , when I said these things to them they just sat there filled with shame. And then they left.” C: Or this excerpt from Ernestine McHugh’s book, Love and Honor in the Himalayas : Tson: “Here when a woman has her period no one seems to care at all. You can cook and touch anything except the altar. It mixes everything up and is not very restful or correct. My brother is a lama and out household was strict about religious things.” Ern: “I thought concern about women’s periods was a Hindu sort of thing, not Buddhist.” Tson: “It is all religion . . . “ II. Rites of Passage A. The earliest work on rites of passage was completed at the turn of the century by a study of society named Van Gennup and was extended to all of ritual by an anthropologist named Victor Turner working in Africa. These scholars notice that societies pay particular attention to and have rituals marking changes in status, for instance the change in status from one culturally recognized age grade into another, or from one religious role to another as when Tamang lamas are initiated as lamas. These individual level transformations are called rites of passage by anthropologists and they have been found to have standard characteristics throughout the world: rite of passage : any ritual sequence marking a person's change of status, social 1
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Anthropology 101 Tom Fricke Winter 2008 03.12.08 Anthropological Approaches to Religion position, age or condition The 3 phases of all rites of passage are: 1. separation : when individuals are removed from society 2. liminality : a period of being in between states and hence without status; called margin , or at the margin between categories 3. aggregation
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2008 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Peters during the Winter '08 term at University of Michigan.

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anthro101lec22.mar12.y08 - Anthropology 101 Winter 2008...

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