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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Fall 2007

SOC 308 • Gods and the Good Life

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47564 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
UTC 3.124

Course Description

Ever wondered what religions are like in societies that are not predominantly Christian? Ever wondered if people who carry out religious practices or maintain certain beliefs live longer or healthier lives? Ever wondered if these relationships vary per context or society? In this course, we will address these key questions by examining religion, psychosocial well-being, and the intersection between the two in North America, East Asia, Western Europe, and sub-Saharan Africa. Although the course focuses on sociological perspectives, it also aims to bridge disciplines and methodologies, thus it is of particular interest to sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, and others interested in psychosocial well-being or in religion in the U.S., Japan, Western Europe, or sub-Saharan Africa. During this semester, you will be able to:

1) Provide working definitions of religion and psychosocial health based on different cultural contexts;
2) Know some of the main theoretical and mechanical explanations for the connection between religion and psychosocial health within these cultures;
3) Enhance your study and writing skills and learn to communicate effectively in group discussions;
4) Recognize the value of cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and multi-method research

Grading Policy

Participation (Attendance and active participation will be important learning components) 15%
3 non-comprehensive Exams 45%
Research Paper(Abstract/Outline and 7-10 page formal essay) 40%


Kawano, Satsuki, Ritual Practice in Modern Japan: Ordering Place, People, and Action, Honolulu: Hawaii UP, 2005
Pargament, Kenneth, The Psychology of Religion and Coping: Theory, Research, and Practice, New York: Guilford Press, 1997
Traphagan, John, The Practice of Concern: Ritual, Well-being, and Aging in Rural Japan, Durham, NC: Carolina Press
A number of journal articles will also be assigned.


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