The study of religion has played a central role in the discipline of sociology since its very beginnings in the mid 19th century. Today, sociologists of religion continue to ask questions about what people believe, how religion is organized, and how religion affects various aspects of social life. These questions become ever more important in light of religion’s diverse significance in modern society; for instance, religious organizations provide assistance to the needy, immigrants maintain ethnic identities through religious practice, families draw upon religious beliefs to construct and live out new gender ideologies, and some religious extremists believe that violence is an appropriate means through which to advance their cause. Understanding religion’s changing role in society – along with all of its diverse manifestations – represents the central purpose of this class. Along the way, we will explore religion from a variety of different vantage points within the social sciences, and consider the influence of religion in different areas of social life including the family, race, immigration, and politics.
Private College or University Institution Type
Syllabus Resource Type
Undergraduate Course Class Type
2013 Date Published
Religious Studies, History, Political Science, Sociology Discipline
General Comparative Traditions Religous Tradition
Class/Power, Gender/Women/ Sexuality, Immigration/Refugees, Race/Ethnicity Topics