Course Syllabi

Sociology of Religion (Undergraduate Class)

This course provides an introductory overview of the sociology of religion, an important field in sociology. Religion is one of the most powerful forces of social cohesion, order, meaning, disruption, and change in human societies, both historically and today in the modern world. Sociology provides a particular disciplinary perspective and analytical tools and theories for describing, understanding, and explaining the nature and influence of religion. 

View the syllabus for Sociology of Religion, 177k PDF.

Critical Realism & Human Personhood (Graduate Seminar)

This advanced theory seminar explores the philosophy of social science known as critical realism and consider how it influences sociological research and scholarship. The first part of the course will read and discuss key works in critical realism as an alternative approach to positivist empiricism, postmodern deconstructionism, and hermeneutical interpretivism. The second part of the course then considers the implications of a critical realism for our understanding of human beings, of human persons. Attention is given to how critical realism shapes the conceiving and designing of research projects, data analysis, and explanation in scholarship. Along the way we will engage a variety of sociological theories and basic theoretical issues from a critical realist perspective.

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Understanding Societies (Undergraduate Class)

This course provides an introduction to the sociological perspective on human social life, exploring how the sociological imagination prompts the asking of certain questions and provides a particular approach to analysis and answering those questions. Central to our inquiry is the idea of the causal power of social structures. Thematically we focus on culture, socialization, social solidarity, social networks, social conflict, social institutions, social inequality, and social change, with a particular concern with community, emerging adulthood, social class, and religion. 

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Sociology of Religion (Graduate Seminar)

This seminar explores important bodies of literature in the field of the sociology of religion. Its purpose is to help prepare graduate students to pass the doctoral exam in the sociology of religion, to research and write a successful sociology dissertation on religion, and to become a contributing scholar in the field. We will focus on important substantive findings of research programs in recent years, key theoretical debates in the field, and important methodological concerns. 

View the syllabus for Sociology of Religion Graduate Seminar, 300k PDF.

Sociology of Religion Comprehensive Exam

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 with in order to claim professional competence and as a 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 interests and research. Scholars inevitably differ somewhat on exactly what literature belongs on such core lists of readings. Listed here, however, are the readings which Notre Dame graduate students will be expected to master for their comprehensive exams in the sociology of religion.

View the reading list for the Sociology of Religion Exam, 293k PDF