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Comparative Worldviews




Admission Requirements



Is the reality of world objective or is how one engages with and understands the world a matter of interpretation? This course will take an interpretive approach to the world by exploring the immense differences in how the world is constituted and understood cross-culturally. We will take an anthropological approach to this problem and consider worldviews largely within the framework of culture. Not only will we consider what it means to have a worldview, but how one can study and try to comprehend a worldview other than her own. We will also consider how conceptions of religion and science shape the ways in which people view the world.

Course Objectives

The goals of this course are:

  • To sharpen critical thinking skills and close reading by encouraging students to locate authors’ arguments and put them into conversation with other literature.

  • To give students a nuanced sense of cross-cultural diversity.

  • To offer students an opportunity to synthesize complex matters in oral and written discussions.

  • To push students to consider quite different perspectives than their own and to appreciate them as critical aspects of a complex and diverse world

  • To encourage students to appreciate different forms of knowledge production and presentation.

Mode of Instruction

This will be a discussion based course with some writing assignments. Students will be expected to do close readings of the materials assigned and to be able to discuss them orally and in writing. Students will also be assigned short writing assignments as well as a group project that addresses the themes of the course.


Students will be assessed on their oral participation in class discussion, quality of their short writing assignments, and a final group project.



Contact Information

Dr. Anthony Shenoda: a.g.shenoda@luc.leidenuniv.nl

Weekly Overview

Week 1: What is a worldview?
Week 2: Magic
Week 3: Religion
Week 4: Science
Week 5: Culture
Week 6: Gender
Week 7: Race

Preparation for first session