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Must-Have-Reads: Emile Durkheim’s Elementary Forms of Religious Life

2 EC 15 Nov 2019

When was the last time you read an academic book from cover to cover as a student? NOSTER’s junior members have let us know that they miss reading the classics of their fields in full length. That is why NOSTER is starting a new series in her curriculum, titled ‘The NOSTER Must-Have-Reads’. This module is devoted to the reading of classic/key texts from theology and religious studies from cover to cover and discuss them under supervision of a senior scholar in our field.

The first edition of the NOSTER Must-Have-Reads is dedicated to Émile Durkheim’s classic The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. It will be supervised by dr. Pooyan Tamimi Arab (UU). In four meetings the book will be read and discussed in depth. Participants will be asked to prepare and present various parts of the book and pose questions for discussion.

About The Elementary Forms of Religious Life

“In The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (1912), Émile Durkheim set himself the task of discovering the enduring source of human social identity. He investigated what he considered to be the simplest form of documented religion – totemism among the Aborigines of Australia. Aboriginal religion was an avenue ‘to yield an understanding of the religious nature of man, by showing us an essential and permanent aspect of humanity’. The need and capacity of men and women to relate socially lies at the heart of Durkheim’s exploration, in which religion embodies the beliefs that shape our moral universe. The Elementary Forms has been applauded and debated by sociologists, anthropologists, ethnographers, philosophers, and theologians, and continues to speak to new generations about the origin and nature of religion and society.” (Oxford University Press)

Location: Utrecht University (Stijlkamer, Janskerkhof 13)
Credits: 2 EC
Participation and registration: Once you have created a personal account on this website and have logged in, you can register for this event by clicking the green “Register for this item” button on the right. Participants need to register before 26 September.
Costs: Participation is free for ReMA students and PhD candidates registered at NOSTER or at any other research school in the Humanities. For others, the fees are €100. For more information about membership and costs, click here (for ReMA students) or here (for PhD candidates).
Material: Participants are expected to purchase the book themselves. Please order the translation by Karin E. Fields published by Simon & Schuster in 1995 (ISBN: 9780029079379).


  • 18 Oct 2019 18:00 21:00
    Utrecht (Stijlkamer, Janskerkhof 13)
  • 25 Oct 2019 18:00 21:00
    Utrecht (Stijlkamer, Janskerkhof 13)
  • 08 Nov 2019 18:00 21:00
    Utrecht (Stijlkamer, Janskerkhof 13)
  • 15 Nov 2019 18:00 21:00
    Utrecht (Stijlkamer, Janskerkhof 13)
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