New class: ANTH 206, Anthropology of the Supernatural

Term 1 TR, 9:30 – 10:45 AM

with Professor Magliocco


What is the supernatural, and why are we fascinated with it? Where do supernatural beliefs come from? How are supernatural creatures such as witches, vampires, and zombies enjoying a new life in the modern world? These are some of the questions this course will address.

This course examines supernatural and occult traditions as they appear in the context of religion, narrative, healing, ritual and media accounts and presentations.  We will also study how anthropologists and scholars from related disciplines have approached these topics.

This course does not attempt to prove or disprove the existence of supernatural phenomena.  Rather, it takes an ethnographic, phenomenological approach to this issue, focusing on people’s lived experience and their attempts to make sense of it.  Students will be encouraged to explore the relationship between scientific belief and supernatural belief in the context of both traditional cultures and the contemporary landscape.