Prof. Courtney Bender (email@example.com)
Kent 613; 854-3716
Office hours: Wed. 4-6
This course is designed to introduce advanced undergraduate and graduate students tools and concepts with which to understand the social organization of religion. We will analyze religion as it is embedded in and related to other aspects of social and cultural systems.
Analyzing religion in relation to non-religious systems provides opportunity to develop understanding of both the changes and continuities in the structure and role of religion in modern societies and the shifting boundaries of religious and non-religious activity.
Our primary (but not exclusive) focus will be on contemporary North American religions.
- Class attendance and participation (20%)
- A bi-weekly topical essay on the readings (more below) (30%)
- Four quizzes on the readings and lectures (20%)
- A 12-15 page term paper (30%)
A two page description of your paper topic is due in class on March 20 and counts for 10% of the paper grade
Enrolled graduate students will write a12-15 page research proposal.
Topical essays are short (4-5 page) essays on the required readings' main themes. You will turn in an essay on each of the course topics (with the exception of "taking stock").
Essays are not summaries. You should demonstrate your knowledge of the text's arguments through one or more of the following: (a) comparing approaches and methods; (b) raising questions or critical comments(c) discussing the relevance (or lack thereof) for designing sociologically based study. The essays should exhibit cogent prose and be proofread carefully for spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
Your term paper will provide the opportunity to delve into a topic addressed in the class or to research an area that is related to, but not directly touched on by, the course readings. A sociology of religion bibliography will be avalailable for you to consult on line as you think about what topic to pursue for your paper. You should also consult the journals Sociology of Religion and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. And of course, you should come talk to me as well about your paper topics - well before the 20 March topic submission due date.
Books will be available for purchase at Labyrinth Books. A reader of required readings is available for purchase at CopyQuick (Amsterdam Avenue and 119th St.). Copies of the reader and the required books are on reserve at Butler Library.
Berger, Sacred Canopy
Brown, The Channeling Zone
Casanova, Public Religions in the Modern World
Davie Women in the Presence
Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life
Hall, ed. Lived Religion in America
Kertzer, Ritual, Power, Politics
Roy, Some Trouble with Cows
Weber, Sociology of Religion
Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
No late work will be accepted under any circumstances.
Essays may be emailed to me, as a Microsoft Word or equivalent attachment. Emailed essays must be sent to me before class.
You must complete each element of the course requirements to receive a passing grade.
University rules on plagiarism apply in this course. Please see me if you have questions about how to cite materials in written work.
The course has no final examination or midterm, but does require a substantial amount of reading. Please keep in mind that you are expected to keep up with the readings through the term.
INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW
18 January, 23 January, 25 January, 30 January
1.2. CULTURE/ WORLDVIEW
Berger, Peter. The Sacred Canopy chapters 1-4 (pp. 3-101).
Swidler, Ann. "Culture in Action," ASR 1986.
Weber, Max ."The Social Psychology of the World Religions"
Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Wuthnow, Communities of Discourse, introduction, chs. 1-4
Geertz, "Religion as a Cultural System" in Interpretation of Cultures.
3. PRODUCING THE SACRED: TAKING STOCK
Orsi, Robert. "Snakes Alive: Resituating the Moral in the Study of Religion"
Marvin, Carolyn and David Ingle. "Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Revisiting
Religion," Journal of the American Academy of Religion.
Wuthnow, Robert. "Beyond the Problems of Meaning," Meaning and
Order, ch. 2.
6 February, 8 February, 13 February, 15 February
4. 5. AUTHORITY AND LEGITIMATION: SECULARIZATION
Weber, Max The Sociology of Religion, chs.
Berger, Peter The Sacred Canopy chs. 5-7
Casanova, Jose, Public Religions in the Modern World, chs.1, 2, 6, 7.
Stark, Rodney. "Secularization RIP" Sociology of Religion
20 February, 22 February, 25 February, 1 March
6.7. RITUALS AND PRACTICES
Durkheim, Elementary Forms of Religious Life, selections
Douglas, "Preface," "A Rule of Method," "The Two Bodies" in Natural Symbols
Ortner, "Theory in Anthropology Since the Sixties." Comparative
Society and History. 26 (1988):1, 126-66.
McNally, Michael. "The Uses of Ojibwa Hymn Singing at White Earth: Toward
History of Practice" in Lived Religion in America.
Rosaldo, Renato. "Grief and the Headhunter's Rage" Introduction to Culture
Forbes, Cheryl. "Coffee, Mrs. Cowman, and the Devotional Life of Women
Reading in the Desert" pp. 116-132 in Lived Religion in America
Radway, Janice. "Interpretive Communities and Variable Literacies:
The Functions of Romance Reading" pp. 465-486.in Rethinking Popular Culture
6 March, 8 March, 20 March, 22 March
8.9. IDENTITY/CREATING RELIGIOUS SELVES
Lawless, Elaine. "Rescripting their Lives and Narratives: Spiritual
Life Stories of Pentecostal
Women Preachers." Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 7: (Spring 1991) 53-71.
Griffith, R. Marie. "Submissive Wives, Wounded Daughters" in Lived
Cain, Carole. "Personal Stories in Alcoholics Anonymous," ch. 4 in Identity
Agency in Cultural Worlds, Dorothy Holland et al.
Brown, Michael. The Channeling Zone. Harvard.
Emirbayer and Mische, "What is Agency?" American Journal of Sociology.
Bourdieu, "Social Space and Symbolic Power." Sociological Theory 7: 1 (1988)
27 March, 29 March, 3 April, 5 April
10. 11. ORGANIZATIONS AND GROUP PROCESSES
Stark, Rodney and William Sims Bainbridge. "Of Churches, Sects and Cults:
Preliminary Concepts for a Theory of Religious Movements," JSSR18 (1979): 117-131.
Finke and Stark "Religious Mobilization in America Cities, 1906" ASR 1988.
Kaufman, Jason. "The Political Economy of Inter-denominational Competition
Late Nineteenth Century America Cities" Journal of Urban History
Cormode, Scott. "Churches and Secular Voluntary Associations in the
Turn of the
Century City" in Sacred Companies
Davie, Jody Shapiro. Women in the Presence
10 April, 12 April, 17 April, 19 April, 24 April
12. RELIGIOUS/POWER: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE
*Billings, D. "Religion as Opposition: A Gramscian analysis" AJS 96 (1990) 1: 1-31.
Roy, Beth. Some Trouble with Cows. University of California.
Kertzer, Ritual, Power, Politics selections
*Bellah, Robert "Religion" in Habits of the Heart
*Ammerman, Nancy. "Golden Rule Christians" in Lived Religion in America
*Putnam, "Bowling Alone"
*Wuthnow, "Angel Awakenings" and "Spirituality of the Inner Self"
Back to Professor Bender's home page
last updated: 8 Januray 2001.