Syllabus for Sociology 63652 "Religion, Politics, Economics, and Social Change" (ND Fall 2007)

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Sociology 63652

Religion, Politics, Economics, and Social Change

University of Notre Dame
Fall 2007

Instructor: David Sikkink
Office: 814 Flanner Hall
Office Hours: TW 1:30-2:45
Email: ude.dn|knikkisd#ude.dn|knikkisd
Office: 631-2736

Course Description: How does religion interact with political, economic, and other social spheres of human social life? How is religion related to exercises of power, the production and distribution of material goods, the structuring of human life in seemingly non-sacred social institutions? When, how, and why does religion serve as a force of social reproduction, maintaining existing social practices and structures? When, how, and why does religion cause or influence social transformation, through cultural, political, and economic change? This seminar examines key exemplars of literature in this area as a means to master sociological approaches to religion as it interacts with other aspects of social life. Readings will help students prepare for the doctoral exam in sociology of religion.

1. Participation: Attend class regularly and participate in class discussions, exercises, and group projects. Over the course of the semester, each class member will either provide an introduction to one of the course readings, or contribute to a group presentation that will address a major question related to the week’s readings.
2. Reading Essays: There may be a short essay required at the beginning of class that will require class members to draw on the week's readings. These essays will be designed to prepare you for the sociology of religion graduate exam. Altogether, the reading essays will be worth 10 percent of the final grade.
3. Midterm Exam: This take-home exam will consist of broad questions that are similar to the type of questions you would answer in a sociology of religion graduate exam. The exam will provide an opportunity to practice for the sociology of religion exam, and receive feedback. The midterm exam is worth 25 percent of the final course grade. The exam will be due on November 1.
4. Final Paper: There will be a final paper required that is due on December 19th. The final paper will be worth 65% of the final course grade. (More details to follow.)


Burdick, John. 1993. Looking for God in Brazil. California.
Casanova, Jose. 1994. Public Religions in the Modern World. Chicago.
Emerson, Michael & Christian Smith. 2000. Divided by Faith. Oxford.
Epstein, Barbara. 1991. "The Religious Community: Mass Politics and Moral Witness. In Epstein. Political Protest and Cultural Revolution. California. (Ch. 6).
Fowler, Robert Booth. 1989. Unconventional Partners. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Hart, Stephen. 1996. What Does the Lord Require?What Does the Lord Require? Rutgers.
Hatch, Nathan. 1989. The Democratization of American Christianity. New Haven: Yale. (Chs. 1-3, 8).
Pattillo-McCoy, Mary. 1998. "Black Church Culture as a Community Strategy of Action," ASR. 63:6 (December): 767-784.
Pope, Liston. 1942.Millhands and Preachers . Yale. (Chs. 5, 8-10, 14).
Putnam, Robert. 2000. Bowling Alone. Simon and Schuster. (Ch. 4).
Smith, Christian. 1991. The Emergence of Liberation TheologyThe Emergence of Liberation Theology. Chicago.
Smith, Christian. 1996. Resisting Reagan. Chicago. (pp. xv-86, skim 87-132, read 133-208).
Smith, Christian (ed.). 1996. Disruptive Religion. Routledge. (Introduction and assorted chapters)
Stark, Rodney. 2003. For the Glory of God. Princeton.
Thompson, E.P. 1966. The Making of the English Working Class. Vintage (Esp. Chs. 11, 12).
Walzer, Michael. 1965. The Revolution of the Saints. Harvard. (Pp. 1-65).
Wood, Richard. 2002. Faith in Action. Chicago.
Young, Michael. 2006. Bearing Witness Against Sin. Chicago.

Course Outline:

Date Topic Reading Asgn.
Aug 30 Introductions
Sept 6 Religion Shapes Society Stark, Ch.1-3
Sept 13 Society Shapes Religion Stark Ch. 4, Hatch 1-3, 8
Sept 20 Social Reproduction Pope Ch. 5, 8-10, 14 Fowler
Sept 27 Political Power Casanova; Williams and Demerath (handout)
Social Change and Movements
Oct 4 -culture Walzer pp. 1-65; Smith, Disruptive Religion, Intro.
Oct 11 -fields Young Morris (handout)
Oct 18 -organizations Wood Epstein
Oct 25 ** Fall Break
Nov 1 -emotions and ideology Smith, Liberation Theology; Smith, Resisting Reagan, pp. xv-86, 133-208 Exam
Nov 8 -identity Burdick
Religion and Public Life
Nov 15 -civic engagement Putnam; Verba (handout) Patillo-McCoy
Nov 22 Thanksgiving Break
Nov 29 -economic attitudes and values Hart; Thompson, Ch. 11, 12
Dec 6 -race Emerson and Smith
Dec 19 Final Paper Due** Final paper
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