Sociological Association Section on
Sociology of Religion
Spring 2002 Newsletter
Volume VIII, Number 3 - Spring 2002 Contents: Officers of the Section Chair:
Volume VIII, Number 3 - Spring 2002
Officers of the Section
Michael Emerson (03), Rice University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Harriet Hartman (02), Rowan University, email@example.com
Dan Olson (04), Indiana University - South Bend, firstname.lastname@example.org
Milagaros Peña (04), University of Florida, email@example.com
R. Steven Warner (02), University of Illinois-Chicago, firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa J. Wilde (02), University of California - Berkeley, email@example.com
China provides a distinct or unique setting for the understanding of religion in society. Just about three decades ago, all religions were banned under the radical Communist regime, but now all kinds of religions are thriving while the society is experiencing rapid industrialization, urbanization, suburbanization, marketization, democratization, and globalization. Unfortunately, empirical research on contemporary religions in China is rare. Few Chinese sociologists study religion, and almost all scholars of religious studies are in humanities. It is even difficult to find qualified research assistants.
From mid-December 2001 to mid-January 2002 I taught a graduate course "Sociology of Religion" at the People’s University of China, Beijing. To jump-start empirical research, I bypassed classic theories and adopted as the sole textbook the Acts of Faith by Stark and Finke (2000), which offers a succinct summary of the new paradigm and 100 testable propositions. During that period I also gave a lecture on the major differences between the old and new paradigms at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, where scholars responded with excitement about the empirical research-based new paradigm. The interest in the sociology of religion is rising among
young scholars and students in China. Some scholars are enthusiastic about establishing and developing the sociology of religion there. They need help. To do that, I am working with colleagues in China (1) to translate major recent books in the sociology of religion in Western languages into Chinese and publish them in China, and (2) to provide training in theories and empirical research methods to interested scholars and students by holding an annual summer workshop in Beijing, to be taught by established scholars in the U.S. and other countries. I see this as a two-way exchange: while the sociology of religion is being introduced to China, the China case will enrich the theorizing in the sociology of religion. Your input, involvement, and support are solicited. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; phone: 207-780-4754 (until the end of June).
Rhys H. Williams
With all due respect to the New Yorkers, Bostonians, San Franciscans, and St. Louisans among us, this year we meet in America’s greatest city! While not, perhaps, a very profitable place in which to be a baseball fan, Chicago offers incredible riches for those interested in religion, in culture, in immigration, in society and politics, and in sociology. It is a truly "American" place, but increasingly also a world city with a globalized economy and strikingly diverse population. And importantly, it is always a site for successful meetings, given the proximity to the lake and the manageable nature of the Loop. And it ain’t Anaheim . . .
This year the Section on the Sociology of Religion has its section day on the first day of the ASA meetings, Friday August 16. This overlaps with the Association for the Sociology of Religion meetings. While this may give some folks a bit of hectic scheduling, it does mean that August 15 through 17 will be full of opportunities to see people, hear interesting sessions, and participate in our associational life. There will be ASA Section sessions, ASA Regular sessions on religion, ASR sessions, and co-sponsored ASR/ASA sessions. Most of the ASA sessions will be in the Hilton hotel that is next door to the ASR’s Essex Inn. Among the highlights:
There should be something for everyone – at the meetings, and in the city. I hope you have already made plans to attend, and if not, will now put it on your calendar. It is an important time to bring scholarly perspectives on religion to all parts of the academy, as well as to the wider society. I look forward to the many ways in which we can all help do this at the 2002 Annual Meetings. See you there.
ASA Religion Section Sessions
Religion and Inequality
Organizer and Presider: John H. Evans, University of California, San Diego
Asian-American Campus Evangelicals:
Negotiating Segregation and Universalism of Religion
Cowboys and Schoolteachers: Gender in
Christian and Secular Romance Novels
We Get by with a Little Help from Our Friends:
Formal and Informal Assistance to the Needy
Networking with God and God's People: Social
Capital in Poverty-to-Work Programs
Discussant: Mark Regnerus, University of Texas
Religion in Comparative Perspective: Achieved and Ascribed Identities
Organizer: Richard L. Wood, University of Mexico, Albuquerque email@example.com
Taking Refuge in the Buddha: Ascribed and
Achieved Buddhist Identities
Multi-religiosity and ethnicity: Individuals
born to One Jewish Parent
Overcoming the Instrumental Paradox: Intended
Consequences and the Pragmatics of Meaning in Venezuelan Pentecostalism
(Co-Sponsored by the Section on the Sociology of Religion and the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities.)
Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America, Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith (Oxford University Press, 2000).
Organizer and Presider: Rhys H. Williams, University of Cincinnati Rhys.Williams@uc.edu
Section Round Tables
Organizer: Sally K. Gallagher, Oregon State University
1) Assessing Jewish Identity
2) Gender, religion and institutional connectedness
3) Socialization and the development of the religious self
To Be or Not to Be: Baptism Decisions of Young Amish Women and Men
4) Construction and persistence of religious imagery
5) Secularization, Religion & the State
Religion, Secularization and Legitimacy
International Institutions and the
Transformation of Religious Markets
Return to Religion and Redefinition of
Community Boundaries: The Case of Shas in Israel
Joint Section/ASR Sessions
Religion, the Internet, and Society
Organizer and Discussant: Jeffrey K. Hadden, University of Virginia
Organizer and Convener: Lorne L. Dawson, University of Waterloo
Popular Religion and the World Wide Web: A
Match Made in (Cyber) Heaven
Religion and the Quest for Virtual Community
E-space and the Democratization of the
Young People, Religious Identity, and CMC
Regulating Religion: Allocations of Religious Freedom in Contemporary Societies
Organizer and Convener: James T. Richardson, University of Nevada-Reno
Regulating Religion in Australia: Funding
Religious Schools, Anti-vilification Legislation and Post-Sept 11 Responses to
Religious Freedom and Religious Status
Allocation: The Case of the Supreme Court of Canada
Rights Talk and Cults Talk in Africa: A Recipe
for Conflict or Consensus?
Regulating Religion in Europe: Sociological
Comparisons of Selected Societies
Ascription in New Religions
Organizer and Convener: Eileen Barker, London School of Economics
Discussant: David G. Bromley, Virginia Commonwealth University
Overcoming Ascriptions in New Religious
Ascription, Religion, and Popular Culture:
Fiction and the Social Construction of Ascribed Religious Characteristics—A
Case Study of Anti-Mormonism
Children, Community, and Commitment: Do
Kanterian Mechanisms Apply to the Second Generation?
Section members are invited to be guests at the Furfey Lecture by Michael Sells at 6 p.m. and the reception that follows at 7 p.m. on Friday, 16 August.
ASA Sessions on Religion
acial, Ethnic, and Religious Diversity in the United States
Organizer and Presider: James D. Davidson, Purdue University
Religious Diversity in America, 1940-2000
Mark Rowenzweig, University of Pennsylvania;
and James P. Smith, Rand Corporation
Race in American Evangelicalism: A Racial
Conflict and Change in Religious Organizations
Organizer and Presider: James D. Davidson,
The U.S. Abortion Conflict and the
Transformation of Catholic Political Culture
Are Conservative Churches Critical Voices in
Clergy-Congregation Mismatches and Clergy
Personal Religion and Public Policy
Organizer and Presider: James D. Davidson,
Religion, Cultural Change, and Altruism in
Religion and School Vouchers as a Political
Religion, Gender, and Work: The Experience of
In addition, Harriet Hartman has organized a session on "The Construction of Being Jewish."
Praeger/Greenwood Press has initiated an exciting new book series on Lived Religion in America. The Press is committed to publishing high quality analyses of any aspect of religion or spirituality that sheds light on the diversity of experiences and practices that characterize American religion. Book proposals are invited that focus on either contemporary or historical themes. Please direct inquiries and/or proposals to the Series Editor, Michele Dillon, at the Department of Sociology, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH 03824; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Baylor University has made a major institutional commitment to its Department of Sociology and its Ph.D. program. Four new tenured or tenure-track positions will be filled in the next one to two years. Further program expansion is anticipated in subsequent years. At least two of the near-term positions will be in the sociology of religion area. Successful candidates can expect very competitive salaries, excellent benefits including tuition for dependents, and a teaching assignment consisting of no more than two courses per semester. Advertisement of specific positions will commence in the summer of 2002. In the interim, qualified individuals with interest in the sociology of religion are encouraged to inquire: Prof. Charles M. Tolbert, II, Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Baylor University, Waco, TX 76798-2396, email@example.com.
A team of sociologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, under the leadership of Dr. Christian S. Smith, professor of sociology and associate chair of the Sociology Department, has received a major grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc., to conduct the first comprehensive national survey of the influence of religion and spirituality in the lives of American teenagers.
This 4-year project began in August 2001 and will continue until August 2005. It marks the first major national baseline study and descriptive mapping of the religious practices of American youth and combines a national telephone survey of 3,850 American youth and parents with 350 personal, in-depth interviews with a sub-sample of surveyed youth. The survey is designed to reach representative samples of diverse cultural groups including African-Americans, Latinos, and Jewish youth, and will be conducted in English and Spanish, as needed.
Project Co-Investigators include Dr. Michael Emerson, associate professor of Sociology at Rice University, Houston; Dr. Mark Regnerus, assistant professor of Sociology, University of Texas at Austin; Dr. David Sikkink, assistant professor of Sociology, Notre Dame University, South Bend, Ind.; and Dr. Lisa Pearce, who will be joining the UNC faculty as assistant professor of Sociology this fall.
UNC graduate student researchers are Kraig Beyerlein, Bob Faris, Sara Haviland, Philip Kim, Demetrius Semien and Mark Constantine. Melinda Lundquist Denton, UNC Sociology Ph.D. graduate student, is the project manager. Roxann L. Miller serves as the project’s director of Communication.
For more detailed information, visit www.youthandreligion.org
Anthony J. Blasi, Paul-André Turcotte, and Jean Duhaime. Editors. Handbook of Early Christianity: Social Science Perspectives. AltaMira Press, 2002.
Robert L. Montgomery. The Lopsided Spread of Christianity. Westport, CT: Praeger of Greenwoood Publishing Group. 2002.
James V. Spickard, J. Shawn Landres, and Meredith B. McGuire. Editors. Personal Knowledge and Beyond: Reshaping the Ethnography of Religion. New York: NYU Press, 2000.
James Tucker. "New Age Religion and the Cult of the Self." Society. January/February: 46-51, 2002.
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