Courses

The Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame provides a supportive and challenging environment for sociological research, undergraduate studies, and graduate training -- and offers a number of courses for undergraduates and graduate students with an emphasis in the study of religion.

Graduate Seminars on Religion by Center Affiliates

Spring 2017

Soc 63900: "Critical Realism and Sociology"
Professor: Christian Smith

Description: This advanced theory seminar will explore the philosophy of social science known as critical realism and consider how it might influence sociological research and scholarship. The first part of the course will read and discuss key works in critical realism as an alternative approach to both positivist empiricism and hermeneutical interpretivism. The second part of the course will then consider the implications of a critical realist sociology for conceiving and designing research projects, conducting data analysis, and writing publications. Along the way we will engage a variety of sociological theories and basic theoretical issues from a critical realist perspective.


Fall 2016

Soc 73652: "Sociology of Religion"
Professor: Christian Smith

Description: The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students in sociology with an opportunity to examine some of the most prominent topics that currently concern sociologists of religion. The exact content of the course may vary from semester to semester, but previous iterations have included discussions of the role of historical analysis in the study of religion, the function of religion in social and cultural change, the conditions that spawn new religious movements, rational-choice approaches to religious practices and institutions, and the debate over the process of secularization. The class meets for intensive discussion of assigned readings and to hear student-initiated presentations. A research paper is expected of each student as a final requirement. This course does not necessarily assume that students have taken the first graduate-level course in the sociology of religion.


Spring 2016

Soc 63691: "Research and Analysis in Sociology of Religion" 
Professor: Mary Ellen Konieczny

Description: This one-credit workshop will engage students with key pieces of literature related to empirical research, measurement, and data analysis in the sociology of religion; teach some alternative approaches to basic data analysis strategies in the sociology of religion; and provide an informal seminar-based context for the collective reading, discussing, and critiquing of each other’s scholarly papers in sociology of religion. Workshop readings are drawn from the reading list for the ND doctoral exam in sociology of religion, to also help facilitate preparation for that exam.


Fall 2015

Soc 63651: "Sociology of Religion"
Professor: Mary Ellen Konieczny

Description: This seminar considers classical and some contemporary approaches to the sociological study of religion through a study of theoretical and empirical works on religion. Topics include: classical approaches (Marx, Durkheim, and Weber) and their contemporary iterations and uses; the construction of religion as a category; religion and identities (e.g., race, class, gender, sexualities); religion in secular settings; the relation of religion to secularity, secularism, and atheism; and religion and globalization. Case studies will be drawn from international contexts as well as from the American religious landscape.


Soc 63691: Research and Analysis in Sociology of Religion (RASR)
Professor: Mary Ellen Konieczny

Description: This one-credit workshop will engage students with key pieces of literature related to empirical research, measurement, and data analysis in the sociology of religion; teach some alternative approaches to basic data analysis strategies in the sociology of religion; and provide an informal seminar-based context for the collective reading, discussing, and critiquing of each other’s scholarly papers in sociology of religion. Workshop readings are drawn from the reading list for the ND doctoral exam in sociology of religion, to also help facilitate preparation for that exam. 


Spring 2015

Soc 63569: "Religion and Social Movements" 
Professor: Kraig Beyerlein

Description: This course focuses on the major topics, theories, and debates in the literature on religion and social movements. In the first part of the course, students will learn about the role of religion in promoting or hindering collective action for such theoretically important cases as the struggle for racial justice in the American South in the 1960s, the U.S. Central America peace movement, the East German Revolution, and anti-abortion activism. Although most of the material in this section addresses the effect of religion on social activism, we will also discuss work that reverses the causal arrow and considers how social movement participation influences religion. Attention then shifts to social movements within religious organizations. Here we engage studies on the success or failure of organizing efforts for secularization, women’s ordination, gay and lesbian rights, and doctrinal change during the Second Vatican Council. From the Unification Church to American evangelicalism, the final part of the course tackles religious movements and what drives their growth and decline. In studying these different dimensions of religion and social movements, particular emphasis will be given to explicating the processes involved in mobilization.


Soc 63691: "Research and Analysis in Sociology of Religion" (RASR)
Professor: David Sikkink

Description: This one-credit workshop will engage students with key pieces of literature related to empirical research, measurement, and data analysis in the sociology of religion; teach some alternative approaches to basic data analysis strategies in the sociology of religion; and provide an informal seminar-based context for the collective reading, discussing, and critiquing of each other’s scholarly papers in sociology of religion. Workshop readings are drawn from the reading list for the ND doctoral exam in sociology of religion, to also help facilitate preparation for that exam. 


Fall 2014

Soc 63630: "Religion, Gender and Family"
Professor: Mary Ellen Konieczny

Description: This course examines classical and current sociological theory and empirical research concerning the relation of religion to issues of gender and family. Themes to be examined include: religious participation and the construction of gendered identities; modern women’s adherence to conservative, evangelical and fundamentalist religious groups articulating patriarchal gender ideologies; religion, family organization, and parenting; religion and the control/expression of sexuality; and the contribution (and limits) of feminist theory to understanding the relation of religion, gender, and family in contemporary societies. Empirical research studied in this course draws extensively from Western contexts, but also substantially includes cases from societies across the globe. 


Soc 63691: "Research & Analysis in Sociology of Religion" (RASR)
Professor: David Sikkink

Description: This one‐credit workshop will engage students with key pieces of literature related to empirical research, measurement, and data analysis in the sociology of religion; teach some alternative approaches to basic data analysis strategies in the sociology of religion; and provide an informal seminar‐based context for the collective reading, discussing, and critiquing of each other’s scholarly papers in sociology of religion. Workshop readings are drawn from the reading list for the ND doctoral exam in sociology of religion, to also help facilitate preparation for that exam. 

Grad students in class 2


Spring 2013

Soc 63691: "Research & Analysis in Sociology of Religion" (RASR)
Professor: Kraig Beyerlein

Description: This one-credit workshop will engage students with pieces of literature related to empirical research, measurement, and data analysis in the sociology of religion; teach some alternative approaches to basic data analysis strategies in the sociology of religion; and provide an informal seminar-based context for the collective reading, discussing, and critiquing of each others’ scholarly papers in sociology of religion.


Fall 2012

Soc 63691: "Research & Analysis in Sociology of Religion" (RASR)
Professor: Kraig Beyerlein

Description: This one-credit workshop will engage students with pieces of literature related to empirical research, measurement, and data analysis in the sociology of religion; teach some alternative approaches to basic data analysis strategies in the sociology of religion; and provide an informal seminar-based context for the collective reading, discussing, and critiquing of each others’ scholarly papers in sociology of religion.


Spring 2012

Soc 63652: "Religion, Politics, Economics, and Social Change"
Professor: David Sikkink

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.


Soc 63691: "Research & Analysis in Sociology of Religion" (RASR)
Professor: Kraig Beyerlein

Description: This one-credit workshop will engage students with pieces of literature related to empirical research, measurement, and data analysis in the sociology of religion; teach some alternative approaches to basic data analysis strategies in the sociology of religion; and provide an informal seminar-based context for the collective reading, discussing, and critiquing of each others’ scholarly papers in sociology of religion.