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240509 SE Ritual flows and recomposition with a special focus on South and South-east Asia (P2, P3, P4) (2019W)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!



max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Tuesday 01.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 08.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 15.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 22.10. 09:45 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 29.10. 09:00 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 05.11. 09:00 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 12.11. 09:00 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 19.11. 09:00 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 26.11. 09:00 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 03.12. 09:00 - 11:15 Übungsraum (A414) NIG 4. Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

The aim of this course is to introduce students to recent forms of ritual practices that have appeared in the world, more particularly in South and South-east Asia; ritual recomposition include here transformation, reinterpretation, and new values given to ritual practices or to their components. The course will focus on the context from which these rituals emerged, and on the mechanisms allowing their recomposition, in particular ‘flows’ of people, practices and ideas.

Students will
• acquire knowledge on recent developments of religious practices in South and South-east Asia, and on the conditions of their emergence, in particular in relation to ‘modernity’;
• acquire knowledge on the social anthropological study of these rituals, and how they take place in the social anthropology of religion

The course will focus on various recent forms given to rituals in South and South-east Asia. Ritual recomposition or reconfiguration is approached as a part of societal dynamics, both local and global, as well as of ethnic, social, politics and economic dynamics. Two types of ritual transformation will be discussed in the course:
- Ritual ‘creation’ and New Religious Movements;
- Reinterpretation and relocation of rituals
The course will focus on the conditions of emergence of ritual recomposition: firstly, the context, that is to say the social, political, economic and global factors leading to ritual recomposition with a particular focus on mobility of people and ideas (or ‘flows’); and secondly the agents and the ‘audience’ of recomposed rituals.
The study of ‘recomposed rituals’ will be placed in the wider theoretical context of the study of ritual and religion in social and cultural anthropology and continuities and discontinuities with older approaches will be discussed. The case study will come from Northeast India, Nepal and in various parts of south-east Asia (Vietnam, Singapore, Korea).

Seminar with visual and textual material in English.

Assessment and permitted materials

text and oral presentation
participation in group

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Assessment (in English)
- Text presentation: 30 %
- Participation in the working groups during the seminar blocks: 20%
- Oral presentation of the final essay project: 10%
- Final essay (group work) (4-8 pages): 40%

The essay should be sent a few weeks after the course (exact date to be announced).
Assessment will be based on the students’ capacity to link the substance of the texts discussed during the seminar with their own current research.

* to be evaluated positively, only one course session can be missed (except for medical reasons etc.)

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). From winter term 2019/20 the plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.

Examination topics

Reading list

Chatterjee, Indrani. 2013. Forgotten Friends: Monks, Marriages, and Memories of Northeast India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Gellner, D. N., S. L. Hausner, C. Letizia (eds). 2016. Religion, Secularism, and Ethnicity in Contemporary Nepal. New Delhi : Oxford University Press.
Handelman, D. and Lindquist, G. 2005. Ritual in Its Own Right. Exploring the Dynamics of Transformation. New York: Berghahn Books
Kim, David W. (ed). 2015. Religious Transformation in Modern Asia. A Transnational Movement. Leiden: Brill
Kreinath, J. et al. 2004. The dynamics of changing rituals: the transformation of religious rituals within their social and cultural context. New York, Vienna: Lang.
Shneiderman, S. 2015. Rituals of Ethnicity. Thangmi Identities Between Nepal and India. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press

Association in the course directory


Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:21