Guidelines For Comprehensive

In addition to whatever specific readings graduate students engage for their own personal research interests, there is a core set of readings with which sociologists of religion should be familiar in order to claim professional competence and as background to eventually teaching in the sociology of religion. The purpose of doctoral exams is to provide occasions for students to master the essential literatures of their fields of interest and research. Scholars inevitably differ somewhat on exactly what literature belongs on such core lists of readings. Listed below, however, are the readings which Notre Dame graduate students will be expected to master for their doctoral comprehensive exams in the sociology of religion.

Among the core questions in the sociology of religion-which the readings below address in various ways and about which doctoral exams in sociology of religion will ask-are the following:

1. Subject: What is religion? Why are people religious? How is religion expressed in social terms and forms?

2. Methods: How can religion be studied sociologically? What are the strengths and weaknesses of different methodological approaches? What are the important issues in measuring religion?

3. Modernity: How does the historical transition from "pre-modern" to modern and postmodern society affect the strength and character of religion? Is modernity secularizing? Are there multiple modernities? What might that mean?

4. Participation and Communities: What social factors and processes influence individuals' religious beliefs, commitments, practices, conversions, switching, etc. and the strength and character of religious communities, traditions, and subcultures?

5. Reproduction and Change: What influence does religion exert in maintaining and/or challenging established social practices and institutions?

à Readers tackling this list as a whole are suggested to read those references marked with asterisks (**) first, followed by the remainder, taken in thematic groupings.

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