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Instructor Class Description

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Noam Pianko
SIS 342
Seattle Campus

Social Theory in International Context

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.

Class description

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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Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 11/17/2004