In 6-8 pages, please write a carefully reasoned in-depth analysis of any of the following topics (PLEASE indicate in your very first sentence which option you are taking!). Regardless of the option you choose, you must use and cite at least six different credible and authoritative sources. Half of these may come from required SOC 420 course readings. Your MTB report is also acceptable. Beyond that, you should also find at least two credible and authoritative sources that weren’t required reading for our class, though more sources may be helpful. Again, Wikipedia does NOT count as credible and authoritative.
A) What did you see as the most important concept, idea, or issue you learned about in this Sociology of Religion course? Please also explain its relationship to three or four other particularly significant concepts you’ve also learned about in our class. As one example (but there are many other possibilities), you could argue that modern American religion has acquired a profoundly political dimension. What are the reasons for this modern religious-political dilemma, and what are the implications for religious conflict, use of media, economic factors, and the future of religion in America?
B) Please take one of the most significant concepts, ideas, or issues we’ve identified—socialization, conversion, social construction, media, conflict, politics, gender/sexuality, and so forth—and analyze it in depth in terms of a theoretical perspective we’ve discussed (functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interaction, social construction, phenomenology, etc.). Also explain the relationship of this concept to three or four other significant concepts/ideas we’ve considered in this course. Examples of acceptable topics: the phenomenology of religious conversion, use of music or other media in the social construction of religious meaning, an analysis of symbolic meaning in a religious group’s place of worship, etc.
C) We have focused a great deal on religion as it functions in the American cultural context. However, how well does a particular concept or issue we’ve discussed in this class apply within a different religious culture elsewhere in the world? How is this concept/issue the same? How is it different? What are the relevant social dynamics and future trends within this religious context? A possible topic, for instance: How does the American concept of separation of church and state compare and contrast to the tendency in a number of Islamic nations to closely integrate church and state functions?