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

Spring 2010

SOC 308 • Religion, Culture, & Politics

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46255 MWF
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
NOA 1.124

Course Description

In this course, we will investigate the relationship of religion to politics via the central concept of culture, the "publicly available symbolic forms through which people experience and express meaning." How does religion, as a form of culture, affect political life? What about the other way around? Does the local culture of a society independently affect both religion and politics? How do historical conditions affect the religion-culture-politics relationship?

We will focus our questions on the socio-political context with which we are most familiar, the United States and its dominant religion, Christianity. Of particular interest will be the different modes by which religion and power have intersected in US history: via electoral politics, social movements, violence/terrorism, and collective identity.

Grading Policy

Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 20%
Weekly discussion groups 20%
Final paper 20%
Film reviews 10%
Attendance & Class participation 10%


Kenneth Wald, Religion and Politics in the United States
Michael P. Young, Bearing Witness Against Sin: The Evangelical Birth of the National Social Movement
James A. Morone, Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History
D. Michael Lindsay, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite
Jim Wallis, God's Politics: Why the Right DoesnÂ’t Get It and the Left Gets It Wrong
Course Packet


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