Course Memo

Religion is an enormously important and, despite all the talk about us living in a ^secular^ society, persistent component of human experience. This course will introduce students to the sociological study of religion and provide them with the requisite theoretical tools for assessing the ongoing (and ever changing) salience and functions of religion in the modern world. Among the topics to be addressed are: the ways in which religion shapes individual meaning systems; processes of religious conversion and commitment; types and dynamics of religious collectivities (e.g., denominations, cults, sects, etc.); secularization theory; the impact of religion on social cohesion, conflict and change; and the connection between religion and popular culture. Format: Lecture and discussion sections. Requirements: Classroom participation, short papers and a written final exam. [20 max enrollment]