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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Psychology and Sociology
Course Prefix and Number: SOCI 341
Course Title: *Religion and Society
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Examines the sources and roles of religion in societies. Offers an introduction to the major sociological theories and concepts about religions and religious movements a cross-cultural approach to religious systems and practices. Focuses on how religion fosters social integration and community, but also power, oppression, and discrimination. These themes will be discussed using examples of the religious perspectives on and experiences of women, gays/lesbians, and ethnic minorities. Cross-listed asĀ ANTH 341. Prerequisite: Junior standing. Course meets Multicultural graduation requirement.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): Junior standing.
Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered odd fall.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

A minimum of TWO TEXTBOOKS is required.

At least one Reader/Case Study is required.

Religion in Sociological Perspective
By Roberts, Keith A., and David Yamane (Sage)
Category/Comments - Textbook
The Sociology of Religion: A Substantive and Transdisciplinary Approach
By Lundskow, George (Pine Forge)
Category/Comments - Textbook
Madumo: A Man Bewitched
By Ashforth, Adam (University of Chicago Press)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Engendering Church: Women, Power, and the AME Church
By Dodson, Jualynne (Rowman Littlefield)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Streets of Glory: Church and Community in a Black Urban Neighborhood
By McRoberts, Omar Maurice (University of Chicago Press)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Faith in Action: Religion, Race, and Democratic Organizing in America
By Wood, Richard L. (University of Chicago Press)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn
By McCarthy Brown, Karen (University of Califonria Press)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Capitalism and Religion: The Price of Piety
By Goodchild, Philip (Routledge)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Spiritual, But Not Religions: Understanding Unchurched America
By Fuller, Robert C. (Oxford)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Heaven's Kitchen: Living Religion at God's Love We Deliver
By Bender, Courtney (University of Chicago Press)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Strong Religion: The Rise of Fundamentalism Around the World
By Almond, Gabriel A.,, R. Scott Appleby, and Emmanel Sivan (University of Chicago Press)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Sociology of Religion: A Reader
By Monahan, Susanne C., William A. Mirola, and Michael O. Emerson (Pearson)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Descriminations Shapes Religious Convictions
By Shelton, Jason E. and Michael O. Emerson (NYU Press)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Performing Piety: Making Space Sacred with the Virgin of Guadalupe
By Pena, Elaine A. (University of California Press)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Why the French Don't like Headscarves: Islam, the State, and Public Space
By Bowen, John R. (Princeton University Press)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
Eight Theories of Religion
By Pals, Daniel L. (Oxford University Press)
Category/Comments - Reader/Case Study
God in the Global Village: The World's REligions in Sociological Perspective
By Kurt, Lester R. (Sage)
Category/Comments - Textbook
Sociology of Religion: Contemporary Developments
By Christiano, Kevin J., William H. Swatos, Jr., and Peter Kivisto (Rowman Littlefield)
Category/Comments - Textbook
Religion Matters: What Sociology Teaches is About Religion in Our World
By Emerson, Michael, William A. Mirola, and Susanne Monahan (Pearson)
Course Objectives
  • To understand the role of religion in society from a sociological perspective.
  • To summarize the contributions to the sociology of religion provided by the classical social theorists: Marx, Weber, and Durkheim.
  • To understand patterns of religiosity across time and place.
  • To compare and contrast different religions in terms of beliefs, practices, sacred texts, deities, etc.
  • To understand the religious relationships and experiences of ethnic minorities, women, gays and lesbians.
  • To understand the principles of secular humanism, paganism.
Measurable Learning
  • Describe the collective behavioral forms of religious experience and structures adapted from that behavior.
  • Analyze and explain the patterns of both ecstatic and ritual action among comparative religions.
  • Synthesize the perspectives of sociology and psychology on the role of religion in solidarity and social change.
  • Explain the various religions studied and their similarities and differences.
Topical Outline:
  • The sacred and the profane
  • Symbols and myths
  • Significance of ritual -- Durkheim
  • Theoretical perspectives on religion and society -- Marx, Weber, Durkheim
  • Judaism, Christianity, Islam
  • Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism
  • Witchcraft, spirit possession, and magic
  • Religious specialists: shamans, pastors, imams, priests, monks
  • Paganism, secular humanism
  • Solidarity and social change
  • Ethnic minorities, woman, gays/lesbians

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Aurelien Mauxion Date: August 26, 2014
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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