Course Syllabus

REL3075: Magic & Religion; Section RVC

Professor Erin Weston

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(305) 348-1329

Course Description and Purpose

This course will examine the role of magic, witchcraft, and the supernatural in various religious and cultural contexts from around the world. Students will analyze magical beliefs, practices, and symbols and the role they play in various global religious traditions. This course will employ interdisciplinary methods with an emphasis on anthropology, and various religious/magical practices and beliefs will be viewed from both etic and emic perspectives. While this course will look at a variety of source cultures, it will also emphasize the interaction of religious beliefs and practices with global concerns in the world today.

Course Objectives & Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

    • Outline and describe your understanding of the role of magic, witchcraft, and the supernatural in various religions and cultural contexts.
    • Identify and summarize key theories on why magic has sustained itself despite shifts in science and technology.
    • Distinguish between various magical practices, techniques, and symbols in a variety of cultural contexts.
    • Compare and contrast magical practices from both etic and emic perspectives.
    • Articulate one's own beliefs about the existence of magic and the supernatural in the contemporary world.


Global Learning Course Outcomes

Students will be able to:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of the interrelatedness of beliefs and practices regarding magic, witchcraft and the supernatural in a variety of cultural contexts.
    • Construct a multi-perspective analysis of a topic related to magic and religion.
    • Demonstrate a willingness to engage in an ongoing dialogue about current global concerns in order to address problems arising from the interaction between global concerns and local religious beliefs and practices.

      This is a Discipline-specific Global Learning course that counts toward your graduation requirement.

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Policies and Other Important Links

Covid-19 Policies

Since this is an online course, some of FIU's policies will not impact us directly. The most important thing to note for our class is that if you are diagnosed with Covid-19, please let me know as soon as you can. If you are asymptomatic, you should be able to continue to complete your work as scheduled. If you are symptomatic, then please make sure to let me know as soon as possible. You will be able to make up your work with a positive Covid-19 test, but please note that some graded assignments may be given in an alternate format to maintain the integrity of the class content. We can work out the details on a case-by-case basis. Please stay safe. You can review more on the Covid-19 policies page.    

You can contact me directly in the Canvas messages or at
 Wishing you a good semester. Please stay healthy! 

Course Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this course.

Textbook and Course Materials

Textbook Information

Magic Witchcraft and Religion: A Reader in the Anthropology of Religion
Pamela Moro, James Myers
McGraw-Hill, 2012
ISBN-10: 0078034949
ISBN-13: 9780078034947
Book Info. You may purchase your textbook online at the FIU Bookstore.

The Anthropology of Religion, Magic, and Witchcraft
Rebecca L. Stein, Philip L. Stein
Prentice Hall, 2011
ISBN-10: 0205718116
ISBN-13: 9780205718115
Book Info. You may purchase your textbook online at the FIU Bookstore.


Proctored Exam Policy

There are no proctored exams in this course. 


Expectations of this Course

This is an online course, which means most (if not all) of the course work will be conducted online. Expectations for performance in an online course are the same for a traditional course. In fact, online courses require a degree of self-motivation, self-discipline, and technology skills which can make these courses more demanding for some students.

Students are expected to:

  • Review the how to get started information located in the course content
  • Introduce yourself to the class during the first week by posting a self introduction video in the appropriate blog
  • Take the practice quiz to ensure that your computer is compatible with Canvas.
  • Interact online with instructor/s and peers
  • Review and follow the course calendar
  • Log in to the course at least 3 times per week.

The instructor will:

  • Log in to the course at least 5 times per week
  • Respond to discussions, blogs and journal postings within 3 days or sooner
  • Respond to [emails/messages] within 3 days or sooner
  • Grade assignments within 2 weeks or sooner of the assignment deadline



Course Communication

Communication in this course will take place via Messages.

Messages is a private and secure text-based communication system which occurs within a course among its Course members. Users must log on to Canvas to send, receive, or read messages. The Messages tool is located on the Course Menu, on the left side of the course webpage. It is recommended that students check their messages routinely to ensure up-to-date communication. 

Check out the Canvas Conversations Tutorial to learn how to communicate with your instructor and peers using Announcements, Discussions, and the Inbox


Structure of the Course

This course is divided into an introduction section and ten lessons. Each of the ten lessons consists of a PowerPoint Lecture, Readings, Videos, and a Quiz. There will also be online discussions, either live or in writing, as well as private journaling. After Lessons 5 and 10, there will be two non-cumulative exams based on the questions covered in the quizzes. Finally, there is a capstone paper, where you will have to the opportunity to showcase your favorite theories that you learned over the course of the semester.

You should set aside approximately 6-8 hours per week to study materials, view lectures, finish readings, participate in discussions and prepare for quizzes/exams.

By having many small assignments, you are able to interact with the ideas presented throughout the semester in multiple ways. This course utilizes multiple mediums to present the material, with the understanding that all students learn in slightly different ways. The goal is that by using multiple methodologies ALL students will have enhanced learning.  

All assessments and assignments in this course are conducted fully online and, unless otherwise noted in your syllabus, are due on the Monday of a given week at noon.



Blogs are an open communications tool for students to share their thoughts. Here you can post text, images, links and attachments, open for comments. These will be completed within Discussions on Canvas. Blogs can be found in Discussion on the course menu or within the content area of the course.

  • There will be three course blog topics. The topics will be posted in the "Discussion" in the Course Content. Students must post well thought-out comments based on the required work throughout the semester. Participation is required and represents 15% of your final grade. Both the quantity and the quality of your posts will contribute to your grade. All students are required to participate in all the three topics (at least 200 words). Blogs must be posted during the period they are assigned and are due by 11:59 pm on the Monday which ends that particular lesson. 
  • Once you have composed your original posting, take some time to carefully review other postings within your discussion group. Pick two that are most interesting to you and provide meaningful, detailed, and constructive feedback.
  • Keep in mind that your blog postings will likely be seen by other members of the course. Care should be taken when determining what to post.



There will be weekly journal reflections, which will only be seen by the student and the professor. These reflections will only be graded that they were completed, but not for content. This will provide an opportunity for students to interact privately with the professor in regards to the course content. Journals may be a short paragraph, but must be turned in on time to receive credit. Altogether, the journal entries will be worth 5% of your overall grade.



There will be fully online quizzes covering each section. Your quiz scores will be averaged together for a final quiz score worth 20% of your final grade. All quizzes consist of 20 multiple-choice questions, and each question will be worth 5 points. A quiz will be available from Monday 12:00 am till Monday 11:59 pm of the given week. Once you open a quiz, you will have 30 minutes to complete and submit it. You will have two attempts to take a quiz. The highest score will be counted. 

In order to mitigate any issues with your computer and online assessments, it is very important that you take the Practice Quiz from each computer you will be using to take your graded quizzes and exams. Please review the important information about quizzes page.

Assessments in this course are not compatible with mobile devices and should not be taken through a mobile phone or a tablet. If you need further assistance please contact FIU Online Support Services.



There will be two non-cumulative exams based on the readings and materials covered throughout the course. Each exam will be worth 20% of your final grade. All exams consist of multiple choice, fill in the blanks and true/false questions, and each question will be worth 2 points. Exams will be available for three days from 12:00am to 11:59pm. Once you open an exam, you will have 60 minutes to complete and submit it. 

In order to mitigate any issues with your computer and online assessments, it is very important that you take the Practice Quiz from each computer you will be using to take your graded quizzes and exams. Please review the important information about quizzes page.

Assessments in this course are not compatible with mobile devices and should not be taken through a mobile phone or a tablet. If you need further assistance please contact FIU Online Support Services.


Capstone Essay 

There will be one essay assigned throughout the semester, which is aimed at assisting in the comprehension and synthesis of the concepts presented throughout the course. This assignment is specifically related to your Global Learning engagement outcome that you will demonstrate an ability to engage critically with diverse forms of religion in local, regional, national and international contexts.

This essay will be at least 1500-2000 words long (6 pages double-spaced) and will be worth 20% of your grade. This is a formal academic essay and students must cite their sources. MLA is the preferred citation style in Religious Studies. 

Submission: Students must submit their essays to Turnitin.

This assignment requires three separate submissions in order to receive full credit for this assignment.

  1. The first requires you to submit your complete paper to the “Essay on Magic - Initial Submission” in the Turnitin Assignment Dropbox so that your paper can be sent your classmates for Review.  It is imperative that you submit this assignment on-time, since if you do not you will be unable to complete the second portion of this three part assignment.

  2. In the second portion of this assignment you must access the “Capstone Essay on Magic - Peer Review Assignment” link in the Turnitin Assignment Dropbox area of the course.  You will be directed to review three of your classmate’s papers, as well as your own paper.  In order to receive full credit for this portion of the activity you must answer all questions presented to you for each paper.

  3. Lastly, you will evaluate your reviewed paper and make any necessary edits to it.  You will then submit your final version to the “Capstone Essay on Magic - Final Submission” link in the Turnitin Assignment Dropbox area of the course.

Turnitin - Read Turnitin's Privacy Policy

Late Papers: Late papers are only accepted under extreme and verifiable conditions. 

Students are responsible for reading their messages and all announcements posted by the instructor. The instructor also reserves the right to make changes to the syllabus by means of announcements or messages with ample time allowed for students to respond and adjust appropriately.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarism, or attempting to pass off another's work as your own, falls into three different categories:

  1. A written work that is entirely stolen from another source;
  2. Using quotations from another source without properly citing them; and
  3. Paraphrasing from another source without proper citations.

Students are expected to understand the definition of plagiarism. See the University Code of Academic Integrity if you need further clarification. Offenders will receive a grade of F for the plagiarized assignment, and possibly the course.

You will need to do research; your textbook and required readings will not have enough information about the topic. You will need to consult a minimum of three outside sources and one must be a book reference. You will also need notes in your paper, and a Bibliography/Works Cited page in MLA style. 

Do not use Wikipedia as an internet source. You may use internet sources, but use only academic sources from the internet. (Academic sources list individual authors, name their sources, and have institutional affiliations.) Points will be deducted for infractions of these rules.

If you have questions regarding how to cite or what to cite, ask me BEFORE you submit your essay. If you turn in your paper and you "accidentally" plagiarize parts of your essay, you will fail the assignment and possibly the course. Better safe than sorry! To reiterate, ask me before the due date if you are unsure about how to cite your sources.

**Students may not submit work from a previous semester or from another class for this assignment or any other assignment in this course. It will be flagged for plagiarism by Turnitin.

Review the Grademark comments (feedback) from your professor.


Course Requirements

In addition to the completion of writing assignments, discussions, quizzes, and exams, a key requirement for successful completion of this course will be an open mind. Students are expected to exhibit respect to all religious traditions and peoples at all times. Thus, disrespectful or derisive commentary will not be tolerated in this course. Religion is, after all, a very personal and sensitive subject for many.

On the other hand, class participants can expect academic freedom to express their views. Although religion can be personal, this is an academic course taken for college credit and thus students are expected to examine the topics rigorously. Religion shall not be exempt from the scrutiny placed on any and all academic subjects.


Protocol for Technical Problems

If you have any technical problems,

  1. Contact tech support to file a report, and
  2. Contact me by email to let me know what is going on.

If you are having technical problems and an assignment is due,

  1. E-mail me a copy of the assignment, so it is on time, and
  2. Contact tech support.

Student Support Offers Assistance in the form of: 

Support Options
E-mail & Live Chat Support
Phone Support
Office Support (On Campus)
7 days a week 8am - midnight
7 days a week 8am - midnight 
Telephone: 305-348-3630 
Toll-Free: 1-877-3-ELEARN
Monday - Friday from 8am - 10pm 
Modesto A. Maidique Campus
MANGO Building, 5th Floor 



Grading Criteria
Course Requirements Number of Items Weight
Quizzes 10 20%
Journal Entries 7 5%
Blogs (Including Introduce Yourself Video Assignment) 5 15%
Essay (5% Initial Submission / 5% Peer Review / 10% Final Paper 3 20%
Midterm Exam 1 20%
Final Exam 1 20%
Total 27 Graded Assignments 100%


Grading Schema
Letter Range% Letter Range% Letter Range%
A 93 or above B 83 - 86 C 70 - 76
A- 90 - 92 B- 80 - 82 D 60 - 69
B+ 87 - 89 C+ 77 - 79 F 59 or less


Course Summary:

Date Details Due