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080123 VO+UE M120 Detailed Representations I: Religion and Rituality in Action: (2017W)

1) New Religious Practices in/and New Media; 2) Public Events and Festivals Case Studies from Europe

Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Wednesday 04.10. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 11.10. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 18.10. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 25.10. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 08.11. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 15.11. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 22.11. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 29.11. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 06.12. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 13.12. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 10.01. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 17.01. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 24.01. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse
Wednesday 31.01. 14:30 - 16:00 Seminarraum 2 (4.Stock) EE Hanuschgasse


Aims, contents and method of the course

This is a composite course about religion, new media, and public rituality. It is divided into two main parts, which in turn are divided into sub-units.
The first part focuses on new forms of religiosity that have been emerging in Europe in the last few decades, and the more recent interconnection between these new religious practices and new media (especially, but not exclusively, the Internet). The second part is devoted to the anthropological interpretations of public rituals, events, and festivals. The interconnections between these phenomena and religion and new media will also be investigated.

Over the course, a significant number of case studies from throughout Europe will be presented and discussed. Concerning both themes, special attention will be devoted to the ethnographic investigations undertaken by the lecturer himself in Italy, Catalonia, and the Czech Republic.
Notions of "religion", "tradition", "ritual", "new media", "public events", and "new religious movements" will be critically examined and discussed during the lessons, with the support of the pertinent literature.

The provisional structure of the course will be the following:
a) What is religion? What is a new religious movement?
b) Representations and practices of religions and communities through the new media.
c) What is a ritual? How do rituals and public events work? The historical anthropology of public events and rituals.
d) Conclusions and further insights.

Assessment and permitted materials

Die Lehrveranstaltung ist prüfungsimmanent; nur zweimaliges Fehlen erlaubt
Die Punkte für die Prüfungsleistungen werden wie folgt vergeben:

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Für den erfolgreichen Abschluss der LV sind zumindest 50 von 100 möglichen Punkten zu erreichen.
>= 87,5 sehr gut (1)
>= 75 gut (2)
>= 62,5 befriedigend (3)
>= 50 genügend (4)
< 50 nicht genügend (5).

Examination topics

The students will be openly asked to actively participate in the teaching and learning processes. They will be encouraged to ask questions and contribute during the lessons and will also be given the opportunity to express their opinions voluntarily about the readings that will be handed out and read in itinere. Single students or small groups of students (2 to 3 people) will also be asked to present and discuss some articles chosen from the course literature. Nevertheless, the main learning methods will be attendance and participation in classes and the individual study.

The final assessment will be undertaken through an oral exam with the teacher. The exam will be held by means of questions/answers and discussions about the course and literature contents. Its purpose will be to ascertain the students’ knowledge of said contents, but also his/her capacity to acquire and autonomously use critical thinking and research methods.

Reading list

Compulsory readings:

B. C. Wilson, "From the Lexical to the Polythetic: A Brief History of the Definition of Religion", in T. A. Idinopulos, B. C. Wilson (eds.), What is Religion?, Brill, Leiden-Boston 1998, pp. 141-153

G. Coleman, "Ethnographic Approaches to Digital Media", in Annual Review of Anthropology, n. 39, 2010, 487-505

F. Bowie, The Anthropology of Religion. An Introduction, Blackwell, Oxford 2006, chapter 6 ("Ritual Theory"), pp. 138-173

J. D. Eller, Introducing Anthropology of Religion, Routledge, New-York-London 2007, chapter 7 ("Religious Change and New Religious Movements"), pages 160-172

Additional readings:
(every student will have to choose and study at home, or present in the class, at least one of the following texts in addition to the compulsory ones)

L. Dawson, D. Cowan, "Introduction", in L. Dawson, D. Cowan (eds.), Religion online: finding faith on the internet, New York : Routledge, 2004, pp. 1-16

R. Hackett, "Religion and the Internet", in Diogenes 211, 2006, pp. 6776

C. Helland, "Digital Religion", in D. Yamane (ed.), Handbook of Religion and Social Institutions, Springer: Switzerland, 2016, pp. 177-196

R. Hutton, "Modern Pagan Festivals: A Study in the Nature of Tradition", in Folklore, n 119, 2008, pp. 251-273

K. Rountree, "Context Is Everything: Plurality and Paradox in Contemporary European Paganisms", in K. Rountree (ed.), Contemporary Pagan and Native Faith Movements in Europe, Berghahn, New York-London 2015, pp. 1-23

A. Testa, "?Fertility and the Carnival 1: Symbolic Effectiveness, Emic Beliefs, and the Re-enchantment of Europe", inFolklore, n. 128 (1), pp. 16-36

A. Testa, "Religions in Videogames. Historical and Anthropological Observations". In Online. Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet, n. 5, pp. 249-278

A. Testa, "Rethinking the Festival: Power and Politics", in Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, n. 26 (1), 2014, pp. 44-73

D. Visca, "Che fine hanno fatto i nuovi movimenti religiosi?", Prometeo, vol. 116, 2011, pp. 30-37

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:31