Rituals and Change - Not offered in AY 2022-23

Undergraduate Program Status

3rd year
Culture and Self
Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Description: 

Ritual and ritualization are arguably universal features of human culture, found in all societies across history. Ritual structures reality by establishing and legitimizing social order while also being able to transform and reverse it temporarily or forever. It acts at both individual and collective levels, disciplining selves, synchronizing communities and generating collective identities. From rites of passage to liturgies and political ceremonies, rituals enact social dramas according to a well-defined choreography and aesthetics. They interfere in the social dynamic related to initiation, power, violence, exchange or communion, sometimes supporting the underlying ideologies, other times channeling resistance or change. The course provides an exploration of ritual, inviting students to discover its various forms and expressions, the sources of its efficacy and lasting effects in culture, society and politics.

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of ritual in everyday social and political life;
  • Identify how ritual reproduces order, and results in change;
  • Apply course material to analyze contemporary rituals;
  • Distinguish between, and relate, ritual to power and ideologies;
  • Demonstrate a solid comprehension of theories of ritual and change;
  • Connect course material to everyday life.