Di Zhang, Youth High School Completion Renton Techincal College
Religious Studies, World Cultures, Anthropology
Material Type:
Homework/Assignment, Lesson, Module, Reading
High School, Community College / Lower Division
  • Anthropology
  • Culture
  • Islamophobia
  • Religion
  • WA-social-studies
  • World Arts and Culture
  • wa-social-studies
  • License:
    Creative Commons Attribution
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    ANTH 234 Religion and Culture

    ANTH 234 Religion and Culture


    Religion is a significant aspect of human cultures everywhere. In these lessons, we explore questions such as: What are the main elements of religion? Why is believing in a higher power important to human beings across cultures? How is religion related to our social orders? How is religion related to the politics of today's world?

    This resource is comprised of 7 lessons based on online modules, plus a final presentation assignment. Each lesson includes a discussion or written assignment. This class was originally taught by Huma Mohibullah at Renton Technical College. 

    Anthropology of Religion

    This resource is adapted from a course originally taught by Huma Mohibullah at Renton Technical College. 

    Week 1: Anthropology of Religion


    So, you're in an anthropology class! But what is anthropology? Learning a bit about the subject will make what we learn in this class make a lot more sense. So let's begin.

    STEP 1: Watch this 10-minute video, which explains what anthropology is.

    What is Social Anthropology? (1/2) (Links to an external site.) 


    STEP 2: Now watch this 10-minute video, which talks about how anthropologists understand and study religion.

    Anthropology in 10 or Less: 109: Religion Part 1: An Anthropology of Religion (Links to an external site.) 


    STEP 3: Below, post TWO things you learned about anthropology from the first video (2.5 points) and ONE thing you learned about the anthropology of religion from the 2nd video (2.5 points).



    This resource is adapted from a course taught by Huma Mohibullah at Renton Technical College.


    Week 2: What is Culture? 


    Read the chapter on The Culture Concept. Post your 1-2 paragraph reflection on the following:

    • List 2 things you learned about what culture is. (2 points)
    • Tell us about one new concept you either found interesting or disagreed with/questioned? (2 points)

    Respond to a classmate with your thoughts. Here, you should engage with the other person and what they are saying to provide constructive remarks, rather than simply "I agree" or "lol!" etc. Your response should be at least 2-3 sentences long. (1 point)


    This resource is adapted from a course taught by Huma Mohibullah at Renton Technical College.


    Week 3: Religion


    Read the chapter on Religion. According to the author, why is it difficult for anthropologists to come up with a single definition of religion? (2 points)

    Briefly explain any TWO main elements of religion that are mentioned in this chapter (for example, ritual). (4 points)

    Discuss any ONE theory about religion from the chapter that you found interesting or that you disagreed with (there are so many to choose from! For example, theories from E.E. Evans Pritchard, Clifford Geertz, Talal Asad, Karl Marx, Marvin Harris, or any others). (4 points)

    Feel free to respond to a classmate, though it is not required this week!

    Religious Conquest

    This resource is adapted from a course taught by Huma Mohibullah at Renton Technical College.

    Week 4: Religious Conquest


    After watching the film "God in America", please answer the following questions and number each of your answers clearly:

    1) What role did religion play in the European colonization of Native Americans in the Americas? In other words, how did Europeans use religion to justify colonizing Native land and people? (3 points)

    2) What did the Puritans (Christian Europeans) hope to achieve for their new community in America? Why did they consider conformity (everybody believing the same thing) so necessary for their society? (3 points)

    3) The film introduces Anne Hutchinson as a woman who said that God spoke directly to her. How did the men of her Puritan community react to this and what happened to her in the end? In your opinion, why did this happen to her? (2 points)

    4) Read the article Native Perspectives on the 40th Anniversary of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and discuss ONE way the US government denied Native Americans the right to practice their religion or persecuted them for it (2 points).



    This resource is adapted from a course taught by Huma Mohibullah at Renton Technical College.

    Week 5: Gender


    Lila Abu-Lughod's reading is about the way that people in the United States view Muslim women who wear the burqa. She says that the War on Terror has been justified, in part, by this idea that "we" need to "save" Muslim women in Afghanistan and other places. She explains that the US invasion of Afghanistan is justified using a "moral crusade" (which means that we say, "Oh look how wrong those people are! We need to rescue them from their terrible culture!").

    1) Please explain Abu-Lughod's main argument/position regarding this attitude toward Muslim women. What does she have to say about this idea that Muslim women are oppressed and must be freed by the US? (2 points)

    2) How does Lila Abu Lughod define cultural relativism? (2 points)

    3) Engage critically with the article: what worked or didn't, what was interesting to you, disagreeable, useful, etc. (1 point)

    [Here is an article that can help you understand the assigned reading. And here is the author talking about this article.]

    Religion in a Changing World

    This resource is adapted from a course taught by Huma Mohibullah at Renton Technical College.

    Week 6: Religion in a Changing World

    Having read the article and/or viewed the film, please answer the following:

    1) Do members of the Satanic Temple worship Satan? (1 point)

    It is easy for many people to be disgusted by the Satanists. Focus for a moment on their GOAL only.

    What was the Temple's goal in erecting the statue of Baphomet at the Arkansas State Capitol? (1 point)

    In your opinion, is this goal useful in preserving America's multi-religious and multicultural fabric? (1 point)

    Presentation Outline Assignment

    This resource is adapted from a course taught by Huma Mohibullah at Renton Technical College.

    Presentation Outline


    Due ____

    Points 5

    This assignment gets you thinking about your final presentation. It shows me that you have a topic decided, that the topic is appropriate, and that you have done some preliminary research to find sources that can support your presentation.

    Your outline should have the following 3 parts to it. I have provided some examples as well, though of course what you enter will be specific to your topic.

    I. Introduction (What your project is about-1 point):

    Example 1: In this presentation, I will look at the tradition of praise dance in African American churches.

    Example 2: My project is about the role of charity in Islam.

    Example 3: I will be discussing four major aspects of Hinduism.

    Example 4: I will be talking to my best friend, who is atheist, and learning what drew her to atheism.

    II. Body (3 points)

    A. Background and Literature (need 2 scholarly sources)

    1. Scholarly source #1 related to your topic. [List the name of the book or article, the author, the year and the publisher or website]

    2. Scholarly source #2 related to your topic.

    III. Conclusion (1 point)
    Write one sentence that you can use to close your presentation with.



    This resource is adapted from a course taught by Huma Mohibullah at Renton Technical College.

    Week 7: Islamophobia


    Please clearly number your answers for this week's post.

    1) How does our reading this week define Islamophobia? (1 point) Click through each of the categories.

    Answer after watching the film “US Islamaphobia Inc.:  

    2) Provide details from the film about what the "Islamophobia network" is. (1 point) What impact does the Islamophobia network have, legally, culturally, or otherwise? (1 point) Which parts of the film helped you in understanding this impact? (1 point)

    3) Share 1 moment from the film that you found compelling, and explain why you found it compelling. (1 point)

    No need to respond to a classmate!



    Final Presentation

    This resource is adapted from a course taught by Huma Mohibullah at Renton Technical College.


    Due ______

    Points 25

    Your final project is a 10 minute presentation that you will post in _________.

    The goal of anthropology is to appreciate diversity and difference, so you will be focusing on a religion (or secular equivalent) other than your own. This means that if you are Hindu, you must pick a religion other than Hinduism; if you are Christian, something other than Christianity; if you are Muslim, something other than Islam, and so on.

    Your presentation should include:

    Visual aids (videos up to 3 minutes max, photos, graphs/charts, or any other images).

    Your voice (barring any accommodations, of course).

    At least TWO scholarly sources or valid sources. Be sure to check the validity of your sources by using this handy form from the RTC Library:

    2 easy ways to present:
    1) Powerpoint with a voiceover.

    If you have a PowerPoint, include a voiceover that walks us through your presentation. Here is a tutorial, in case you are unfamiliar with this process: How to create voice-over narration for your PowerPoint Presentation

    Here is an example of a perfect presentation prepared for online submission. It is shared with the student's permission.

    2) A video of yourself simply speaking about the topic, as you would in class, and show us photos/charts/whatever visual aids you have as you go through your presentation.

    You can use the rubric below as a checklist to make sure you've got all the elements of a successful presentation.

    Have fun doing this--it should be fun talking about your research and what you've discovered!

    Category Scoring CriteriaTotal Points Score
    Organization (6 points)The type of presentation is appropriate for the topic andaudience.2 
    Information is presented in a logical sequence.1 
    Presentation appropriately cites scholarly references.3 

    Content (10 points)


    Introduction is attention-getting, lays out the problem well, establishes a framework for the rest of the presentation.


    Technical terms are well-defined in language appropriate for the target audience.

    Presentation contains accurate information about a religion or its secular equivalent.4 
    There is an obvious conclusion summarizing the presentation.1 
    Presentation (9 points)


    Delivery is controlled, and smooth.3 
    Visual aids are well prepared, informative, effective, and not distracting.3 
    Length of presentation is within the assigned time limits.3 
    ScoreTotal Points25