This course is designed as an introduction to the broad
field of sociology of religion. Through readings, class
discussion, observation in several congregations, and exploration
of the Internet, students will develop the theoretical
perspectives and tools enabling them to gain a greater
understanding of religion and congregational life.
Religion: the Social Context, Meredith
The Sacred Canopy,
Studying Congregations, Ammerman,
Carroll, Dudley, and McKinney
A number of articles are required in addition to the above
books. They are available on reserve in the Library under my name.
1) I expect class attendance and participation. Each
present a summary and lead a discussion around the readings
from one week. This
discussion will be around several questions distributed during the
week prior to the presentation date. Class participation
and the class presentation will count for 20%of the final
Active participation will help a borderline final grade.
2) There will be a research paper (10-15 pages) focusing on
well-defined issue observed in one of the congregations
3) The two observation reflections (2‑3 pages), will
total 35% of the
final grade. These reflections will be used as a foundation
Feel free to talk with me about any
questions, problems or ideas you may have concerning this class.
to the course
Sociological Perspectives on Religion
McGuire, Religion: the Social Context, chap. 1
Sacred Canopy, appendix I & II
*Clifford Geertz, "Religion as a Cultural System"
as Meaning and Belonging
Religion: the Social Context, chap. 2
*Geertz, "Ethos, Worldview and the Analysis of Sacred
Sociology of Religion: Methods in Studying a Religious Groups
et al. Studying Congregations
2, 3 & Methodological Chapter
McGuire, Religion: the Social Context, p.321-327
as Meaning and Belonging,
The Sacred Canopy, chap. 1,2 & 3
Berger, chap. 4
participant observation due **
Religious Life: Community, Conversion & Commitment
Religion: the Social Context, chap. 3
"Negotiating a Religious Identity"
& Thumma, "The Gospel Hour"
and Nonofficial Religious Expressions
Religion: the Social Context, chap. 4 AND
& Rudy, "On the Margins of the Sacred" chap. 12
Robbins & Anthony In Gods We Trust (IGWT)
*Neitz, "In Goddess We Trust" chap. 18 in (IGWT
Organizations and Institutions
Religion: the Social Context, chap. 5
one of the following:
"The Religious Construction of a Global Identity"
"Contending with a Giant"
"The Church and the Congregation"
participant observation due **
as Social Cohesion or Conflict?
Religion: the Social Context, chap. 6
Emile Durkheim, from Elementary Forms of Religious Life
and Social Change
Religion: the Social Context, chapter 7
Max Weber, from "The Social Psychology of the World
in the Modern World
Religion: the Social Context, chap. 8 AND
A Generation of Seekers, chap. 8 & 9
"Da'wa in the West" and
"Convergence and Divergence"
Berger, The Sacred Canopy, chap. 5,6,7
and the Web
prepared to discuss several web sites you found **
Future of Religion
to be announced
** Final Paper
Hartford Seminary 77 Sherman Street Hartford, CT 06105 860-509-9500 firstname.lastname@example.org