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Regular version of the site

198099 Saint Petersburg
17 Promyshlennaya Ulitsa, Room 107

Phone:+7 (812)786-92-49 

Postal address: 
190008 Saint Petersburg
16 Soyuza Pechatnikov Ulitsa


Department Head Alexander Semyonov
Academic Supervisor Evgeniy Anisimov
From Cotton and Smoke: Łódź – Industrial City and Discourses of Asynchronous Modernity 1897–1994

Zysiak A., Śmiechowski K., Każmierska K. et al.

Lodz University Press, Jagiellonian University Press, distributed by Columbia University Press, 2018.

Early Career Environmental Historians for a Sustainable Academia

Biasillo R., Hameeteman E., Kochetkova E. et al.

Environment and History. 2020. Vol. 26. No. 4. P. 617-621.

Book chapter
Climate Change from the Arctic People’s Point of View: Rhythms of Everyday Life, Infrastructures and Landscapes

Rakhmanova Lidia, Kolesnichenko L., Kirpotin S. et al.

In bk.: The Arctic: Current Issues and Challenges. Iss. Arctic region and antarctica issues and research. NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2020. Ch. 2. P. 15-55.

Working paper
The Oldest Notarial Documents Of Vicenza District, 1380 – 1465, With The Regestae Of The Documents, From The Collection Of N.P. Likhachev

Khvalkov E., Агеева Д. А., Shkil M. et al.

Basic research program. WP BRP. National Research University Higher School of Economics, 2019. No. WP BRP 184/HUM/2019.

Аnthropology of Religion

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered by:
Department of History
Compulsory course
1 year, 1, 2 module


Course Syllabus


Questions of religion have been central to anthropology from its beginnings and remain so today when religion (re)emerges as a global force. While the early scholarship perceived religious phenomena through the skeptical lens of secular science, recent critiques brought up anthropology’s own orthodoxies and the need for theoretical and methodological renewal. Every new paradigm took up the challenge to explain religion and its pervasiveness in human culture and society. The anthropology of religion emerged out of such creative tensions as a vibrant field of theoretical inquiry and impressive scholarship. The course is structured around major themes that shaped the study of religion
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The aim of the course is to introduce students into current theoretical debates in the filed of anthropology of religion.
  • The aim of the course is to discuss anthropological approach to the study of religion
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students understand the genealogy of the concept f religion
  • Students know main ideas of academic debates about non-linearity of secularisation
  • Students have knowledge on variety of rationalities
  • Students know that religion can provide people with moral examples to follow
  • Students have understanding on how religion is present in the public sphere
  • Students understand that mediation is. a crucial part of religious pracrice
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Problems of definition
    Is there such a thing as 'religion'? The first class looks at one of the most inclusive definitions of religion and its critique.
  • Varieties of Secularism
    Although classical accounts of modernity predicted secularization, the world seems to be re-enchanted again, with religion fully reemerging in politics and the public sphere. What are the historical premises of secularization? How did different political orders accommodate religious forms? What are the modes of secularism predicated today?
  • Morality, Ethics and Self-cultivation
    Religion offers ethical models and practices that shape moral selves. The anthropology of morality has for long dwelt in the Durkheimian and Weberian legacy, but the recent ethical turn in the discipline brought a deeper understanding of the relationship between morality and religion.
  • Religious Temporalities and Regimes of Historicities
    Religions are grounded on distinct temporal ontologies that shape religious beliefs and practices. Such temporalities influence perceptions of social continuity or rupture and individuals’ becoming in history.
  • Religion, Mediation and Aesthetics s of Presence
    The concept of belief, central to most definitions of religion, came under strong critique for its Christian (Protestant) foundations. The shift from meaning to practices and processes of mediation has brought together religion and media in an innovative manner.
  • Secular sensibilities in a postsecular age
    This class returns to the public role of religion to ask questions about moral expectations, religious claims and the failure of secular politics.
  • Trading with God(s)
    How belief and religious affiliation define economic rationality?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking homework
  • non-blocking presentation of a text at the seminar, organization of discussion in class
  • non-blocking home exam - two short essays
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.5 * home exam - two short essays + 0.25 * homework + 0.25 * presentation of a text at the seminar, organization of discussion in class


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • James S Bielo. (2015). Anthropology of Religion: The Basics. Routledge.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Bielo, J. S. (2016). A companion to the anthropology of religion. Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, 24(1), 103–106. https://doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.12247