Sociology of Religion
While many people think of religion as personal beliefs and practices that are becoming increasingly irrelevant, religion is a social institution that profoundly influences every aspect of society. From school curriculum and Supreme Court decisions to social mobility and personal health, religion is one of the most powerful forces shaping human experiences. This course will take a sociological approach to investigating how religion shows up in public life, how religion shapes individual life trajectories, and how society has shaped religion and religious expression, with a primary focus on the United States. Throughout, we will collaboratively try out and critically examine tools for crossing sociopolitical divides created or influenced by religion.
Politics of Policing
This course examines the historical and contemporary intersection between policing and politics in the U.S. We first study the political history of policing, tracing its development from the colonial era to today. Next, we evaluate police incentives and power, covering theories of public legitimacy and organizational independence and strategic practices used to maintain social order, especially in marginalized communities. We then assess consequences of policing for social justice and civic incorporation. We conclude with an eye toward policing’s future given controversies over racialized uses of force.