Comparative, historical introduction to the foundations of modern social theory in the work of Max Weber, Sigmund Freud, and Claude Levi-Strauss. Focus on tensions between universalist claims, European origins, and non-European applications of models of cultural formation and development.
SIS 342: Social Theory in an International Context: The Role of Religion in Society and Politics Instructor: Noam Pianko
Many twentieth century social thinkers predicted that forces of secularization would lead to the rapid demise of religion around the world. However, a quick look at any newspaper illustrates our growing recognition of the influence of religion on local and global events. From American politics to ethnic conflicts to international terrorism, religion remains a powerful force in the twenty-first century. This course surveys a number of classical social theorists (including Emile Durkheim and Max Weber), as well as contemporary scholarship, to gain a deeper insight into two fundamental questions: 1) what is religion and 2) why does religion continue to have such a major impact in the international arena? By the end of the course, students will gain a new vocabulary for interpreting religion as a social movement that shapes and is shaped by its historical, political, and social context.
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