About REL 1650 A

Comparative and cross-cultural exploration of the relationships between religion, health, and healing.


Open to Degree and PACE students; Colocated with ANTH 1990 C Total combined enrollment = 119

Section Description

This course is a comparative and cross-cultural exploration of the relationships between religion, health, and healing. Through a consideration of case studies from the US, South Africa, Liberia, Uganda, and Egypt (among others), we will examine how religion shapes people’s understanding of health and well-being and provides them with a means of interpreting and responding to illness, suffering, and death. Drawing upon interdisciplinary approaches that include religious studies, anthropology, history, and critical race and gender studies, we will consider the diversity of ways in which religion both reflects and shapes ideas about health, well-being, illness, and disease. We will consider topics such as: the role of ritual and performance in healing practices; how religion complicates the politics of public health and medicine; issues of race, gender, and sexuality in relation to religious worldviews and healing systems; and the possibilities and potentials for integrating indigenous healing practices with Western bio-medicine.

Section Expectation

• Students will develop an awareness of the diversity of attitudes towards religion, health, and healing in both Euro-American and non-European cultural contexts. • Students will develop an appreciation for the assumptions upon which their own ideas about religion, health, and healing are based. • Students will come to understand the intersection between religion and healing in a variety of contexts, including how such ideas came to be, how ideas about religion and healing are articulated in a variety of forms including ritual, biography, and political action, and how they are represented in a variety of media including scholarly writing, popular media, and films. • Students will develop critical thinking skills that will enable them to analyze information and evaluate arguments from diverse viewpoints and multiple perspectives. • Students will develop critical reading and writing skills that will allow them to interpret and apply the knowledge acquired in this class.

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

Last Day to Add
Last Day to Drop
Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund
Last Day to Withdraw


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Interest Form

REL 1650 A is closed to new enrollment.

But we can remind you a few days before the next term opens. You can also see what terms are enrolling currently.