This course explores different bodily practices around the world, taking a closer look at tattooing and piercing a body as religious ritual. For example, we study religious and nationalistic tattoos, scarification, and circumcision. We will use primary and secondary sources, film, photography, and field trips to better understand these practices and understand how changing the body ritualistically becomes meaningful for certain communities. In the process, we will also reconsider what we mean when we call something “religious” or when we refer to our “self,” “identity,” or “person.”

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