Anthropology Synthesis Essay

Question 1
(750 words minimum)
Define religion and magic as an anthropologist would define it and discuss how anthropologists approach the study of religion and magic differently from other disciplines. Additionally, demonstrate why the anthropological approach is uniquely suited to studying religion and magic. Attend to the following questions:
What are the elements of religion?
Why is religion hard to define?
Are there language difficulties in studying religion?
Are the concepts of good and evil, the soul, and the divine central to most religions?
Are all supernatural entities firmly and easily assigned Western categories?
What is magic?
What is the function of magic?
Is magic used equally as often in all situations; i.e. for fishing in both the lagoon or the sea? Why or why not?
Do cultures that engage in the use of “magic” also use “science” and can they be “rational”?
Explore these questions through cross-cultural comparison making sure to attend to both similarities and differences between traditions referencing readings wherever possible.
Question 2
(750-word minimum) Describe and detail the anthropological analysis of myth, symbols, and ritual in religion and the relationship between these elements, i.e. how the elements interact with each other. How do these elements function? How do these domains work to define ontology and communicate worldview and ethos? (HINT: GIVE PLENTY OF CROSS-CULTURAL EXAMPLES to illustrate the validity of arguments)
Define the function of myth
What is an ontological charter? What is ontology?
Describe and detail the anthropological approach to the study of symbols in performance, ritual, including rites of passage, and the construction of identity.
Describe how symbols function, to encode, maintain, and revitalize a culture’s ethos and worldview as well as its identity.
Make sure to define worldview, ethos, ontology, sacra, and master symbols.
Make sure to detail Geertz’s, Wolf’s, and Turner’s theories about symbols, worldview, ethos, exaggerations, monsters, and ritual to break it all down.
Detail and explain aspects of the puppet show.
Also, be sure to include in your discussion references to, and examples from, the work of relevant authors such as Eliade, Wolf, Beattie, Dougherty, Myerhoff, and Turner.
Be sure to explore symbols and their use in a variety of cultures and the ways in which aesthetic choices in ritual act to create multiple, emically derived meanings.
Pay special attention to the multi-layered meaning in symbols, providing a variety of examples.
Attached are all of the optional sources to use for this assignment. Here are also some video links to help with answering the questions. Please write the essay in the form of a synthesis essay, and make sure to cite all the articles and videos. Please only cite from the sources provided.
o Watch Nova: The Bible’s Buried Secrets
o Small Voodoo Doc:

o Small Rainforest Shaman Video

o Pagan Elements of Christmas

o Quick little histories on Christianity

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