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TAMU SOCI 326 - Syllabus

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Sociology 326: Sociology of Religion Spring 2015 Instructor: Robert Mackin, Ph.D. Office: 428 Academic Building Office hours: Mondays, 2pm – 3pm and by appointment Phone: (979) 862-1548 Email: [email protected] Course Description and Prerequisites: This course provides an introduction to the sociology of religion. The goal of this course is to expose you to how sociologists explore the changing nature of religion at the societal, organizational, and individual level. At the individual level this includes developing what C. Wright Mills called a “sociological imagination”, that is, the ability to understand the intersection of one’s biography and history. The course will make use of both classical approaches and more recent theoretical and empirical contributions to understand religion and social change. To that end, most of our time will be spent reading some of the best, well-written research on current debates and themes in the sociology of religion. Learning Outcomes: At the completion of the course, students will have mastered the following topics:  Students will have an understanding of both classical and contemporary sociological research on religion and social change.  Students will be acquainted with an array of research methods sociologists use in the study of religion.  Students will develop critical thinking skills regarding the relationship between religion and social change. Required books: Mark Chaves. 2011. American Religion: Contemporary Trends. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Michael O. Emerson, William A. Mirola & Susanne C. Monahan. 2011. Religion Matters: What Sociology Teaches Us About Religion in Our World. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Recommended books: Keith A. Roberts & David Yamane. 2012. Religion in Sociological Perspective. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, Fifth Edition. All books have been ordered through the MSC Bookstore. Some readings will be available via Ecampus.tamu.edu only.Mackin SOCI/RELS 326 2 Course Format, Expectations, and Grading Policy: I believe learning is a shared experience. My goal is to personalize this large course by combining lecture, discussion and small group dynamics. To this end, I expect you to participate in class by being prepared to discuss readings, asking and answering questions, breaking into small groups for discussion and partaking in different group activities. Please complete readings prior to the week they are assigned. The class meets three times per week and each meeting will combine lecture and discussion of topics covered in the readings in order to encourage dialog between sociological theories, works we are reading, and our everyday lives. Your final grade will be based on exams, writing exercises and class participation. Please make an appointment to see me if you have any questions or want to further discuss a grading issue. Attendance is required. It is an important element of creating a community of learning. Let me warn you that it is almost impossible to pass the course if you miss many classes. For more information on what is considered a university excused absence, go to http://student-rules.tamu.edu/rule07. If you miss a class, obtain notes from a classmate. You are responsible for the material covered in class. Lastly, please come to class on time and do not leave early out of respect for your fellow students and myself. Grading Policies: Three (3) non-cumulative exams (100 points each) You will have 3 exams over the course of the semester, with the last one being a final exam. No make-up exams will be given unless you have a legitimate and documented reason. You must notify me prior to the exam. Make-up exams will be permitted, at my discretion, in cases of severe (documented) illness or serious family emergencies. Students not excused from a missed exam will receive an F for that exam. Hand-held computers, PDA’s, cell phones, tablets or similar devices are not permitted during exams. When you finish an exam, you must give both your scantron sheet and exam booklet to your proctor. Please bring your student ID to all exams. If you see other students cheating during exams, please notify a proctor immediately. Sociological Imagination Exercise (60 points) For this exercise, students will be asked to interview 2-3 members of their family (preferably from different generations) so as to develop a broad sketch of the changing nature of religious belief and participation in the 20th and 21st century. More information will be provided in class. Facebook Friends Exercise (20 points) For this exercise, students will analyze the religious identities of Facebook friends. More information will be provided in class.Mackin SOCI/RELS 326 3 Attendance & Participation (60 points) Using a software program licensed by Top Hat, students will use their cell phones to register their attendance and to respond to questions posed by the instructor. In calculating attendance and participation grades, the lowest two (2) scores will be dropped. To register with Top Hat you will need the following information: Direct URL: http://app.tophat.com/e/739122 6-digit course code: 739122 NB: Using this service involves a fee. If you do not have a cell phone or cannot afford the fee please see the instructor. Special Assignments: Reading Memos/Group Memos, Reaction papers (60 total points) Pop Quizzes: If I deem it necessary, pop quizzes on assigned readings for the day will be given. If implemented, they will be worth no more than ten percent of final grade. In summary: First Exam 100 points Second Exam 100 points Third Exam 100 points Sociological Imagination Exercise (due April 17) 60 points Facebook and Religion Exercise (due April 24) 20 points Memos: (4 Individual Memos X 10 points each + 4 Group Memos X 5 points each = 60 points) 60 points Attendance & Participation 60 points Total points 500 points Grades will be based on the following scale: A = 90 – 100%, B = 80 – 89%, C = 70 – 79%, D = 60 – 69%, F = 59% and below. In other words, you must earn 450 of the 500 total points to receive an A, 400 of the total points to receive a B, 350 of the total points to receive a C, 300 of the total points to receive a D, and 299 total points or less will result in an F. Everyone is responsible for all of the material covered in


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