THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY
Anthropology 232 Wheaton College Spring 1999
11.15-1.05 TR Blanchard 223
A.H. Bolyanatz Office: Blanchard 214
Office Hours: MF 11.20-12.00, R 10.00-11.00
This course samples some recent social science descriptions of evangelical Christianity in this country. It is a course that will give ear to what anthropologists and other social scientists are saying–good, bad, and indifferent–about evangelical Christianity. To be specific, the course is not about evangelicalism as a set of beliefs, but more about the causes and effects of the behaviour of people who view themselves to be evangelicals. In short, the goal of the course is to confront you with what (we) evangelicals look like to many anthropologists and social scientists.
A collection of readings has been put on Reserve at Buswell Library for your convenience. Some of the readings are in the form of books; these are indicated by [B] after the author’s name. The full bibliographic listings are provided at the end of the schedule of readings.
A substantial part of this course will be run as a seminar. This means that students will be expected to contribute to discussions, and that a significant portion of your grade will be determined by your in-class contributions. There are three papers required for the class. Each is to be of some 4-6 pages in length and should be on material that was assigned reading. In order to provide some structure, I will provide deadlines for each paper. The first paper must be turned in no later than 31 March; the second no later than 21 April; and the third no later than 6 May. The final page of the syllabus provides some guidelines for these papers.
Your contribution to in-class discussions is, as noted above, a key variable in the formulation of your course grade. Grades for the course will be computed according to the following formula:
|Papers (3 @ 25% each)||75%|
Each class session will be devoted to a particular topic. I may spend some time in “lecture mode” before and/or after (and, well, yes; sometimes during) a discussion, but this is intended to complement, rather than usurp, the discussion. It is expected that the readings listed for a particular day will have been read before class. Topics are subject to change without notice.
|Week 9||16 Mar||Topic: Course Introduction and Overview; Evangelicalism at |
the End of the Twentieth Century
|18 Mar||Topic: Anthropology and the Study of Religion Reading: Spiro [B]|
|Week 10||23 Mar||Topic: Conversion I |
|25 Mar||Topic: Conversion II |
Reading: Stromberg [B]
|Week 11||30 Mar||Topic: Conversion III |
Reading: Heriot [B]
|31 March||First Paper Due!|
|1 Apr||Topic: Conversion IV |
Reading: Ullman [B]
|Week 12||6 Apr||Topic: Pentecostalism |
|8 Apr||Topic: Small Group Dynamics |
Reading: Forsyth [listed under ANTH 216]
|Week 13||13 Apr||Topic: Anti-Abortion Activism |
Reading: Maxwell [listed under ANTH 353]
|15 Apr||Topic: Godliness |
|Week 14||20 Apr||Topic: Human Origins I |
Reading: Eve & Harrold
|21 Apr||Second Paper Due!|
|22 Apr||Topic: Human Origins II |
Reading: Scott [listed under ANTH 216]
|Week 15||27 Apr||Topic: Missions & Missionaries|
|29 Apr||Topic: Wrap-Up|
|6 May||Third Paper Due!|
Bibliographical References for Reserve Materials (Listed in Order of Appearance in Syllabus)
SPIRO, MELFORD E.
1994 Religion: Problems of Definition and Explanation. In Culture and Human Nature. B. Kilbourne and L. L. Langness, eds. Pp. 187- 222. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
HARDING, SUSAN F.
1987 Convicted by the Holy Spirit: The Rhetoric of Fundamental Baptist Conversion. American Ethnologist 14:167-181.
STROMBERG, PETER G.
1993 Language and Self-Transformation: A Study of Christian Conversion Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [31-54]
HERIOT, M. JEAN
1989 Blessed Assurance: Assessing Religious Beliefs Through Actions in a Carolina Baptist Church. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, UCLA. [190-238]
1989 The Transformed Self: The Psychology
1988 The Shamanic Complex in the Pentecostal Church. Ethos 16:128- 145.
FORSYTH, DAN W.
1988 Tolerated Deviance and Small Group Solidarity. Ethos 16:398-420.
MAXWELL, CAROL J. C. 4
1995 Coping with Bereavement through Activism: Real Grief, Imagined Death, and Pseudo-Mourning among Pro-Life Direct Activists. Ethos 23:437-452.
BANKS, CAROLINE GILES
1996 “There is No Fat in Heaven”: Religious Asceticism and the Meaning of Anorexia Nervosa. Ethos 24:107-135.
EVE, RAYMOND A., and FRANCIS B. HARROLD
1991 The Creationist Movement in Modern America. Boston: Twayne Publishers. [1-11; 94-119; 172-193]
SCOTT, EUGENIE C.
1997 Antievolution and Creationism in the United States. Annual Review of Anthropology 26:263-289.
STEARMAN, ALLYN MACLEAN
1996 Better Fed Than Dead: The Yuquí of Bolivia and the New Tribes Mission. Missiology 24:213-226.
In general, I am looking for two things in your papers:
(1) A concise review or recapitulation of what was read; and
(2) A critique of the material.
Under (1), you should consider and answer many, if not all, of the following questions:
- What problem(s) does the work address?
- What is explained or tested; by what methods?
- What conclusions are drawn?
Under (2), you should consider and answer many, if not all, of the following questions
- What did you like in what you read? Why? What did you not like? Why?
- What concepts do you believe are especially important? Why?
- Do you notice any red herrings, tautologies, or fallacious logic?
- From the perspective of your own discipline and/or interests, what concepts are useful and good (or not)?