The relations between religion, polity, economy, and social structure; in particular, the political, economic, and social impact of religious beliefs and organizations, as well as the social determination of these beliefs and organizations; the rise of secularism, the rationalization of modern life, and the emergence of political quasi-religions.
Have you ever wondered what makes someone more likely to join a particular religion or why certain religious traditions have more members than others? Ever wonder why someone would join a highly strict religion or cult? In this course we will investigate these questions from a sociological perspective. We will examine the factors that lead to conversion, apostasy, and religious commitment and explore what makes certain religious traditions more effective at gaining and retaining members. By the conclusion of this course you will have gained knowledge of classical and contemporary sociological theories of religion that will provide you with a framework for understanding past, present, and future religious phenomena.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
Class participation (including occassional multiple choice pop quizzes on the readings), two midterms, and a final.