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Sociology of Religion


Admission requirements

Students should have some basic knowledge of sociology of religion.

Students who have not followed a BA level course in sociology of religion are required to contact the teacher for information about what literature to study before the course starts.


In this course each student chooses a book to review within one of three fields in the sociology of religion: (1) method and theory, (2) lived religion, and (3) religion and society. The course has two main aims: that students acquire extensive knowledge about a particular field within the sociology of religion, and that they learn how to write a critical, academic review.
The course contains independent work as well as peer-group cooperation and written assignments as well as oral presentation. Students work individually on their review throughout the semester and discuss their ideas, progress, and preliminary conclusions with their peers and the teacher at various stages of progress. Most sessions are seminars in which students present and critically evaluate key articles, followed by plenary discussion. We will also discuss how to write an academic review, and students receive feedback on a written draft half-way through the semester, both from the teacher and from their fellow students. The course is concluded with a “mini-conference” with presentation and discussion of the final reviews.
The course is normally worth 5 ects points, but can be expanded to 10. Students who follow the expanded version of the course are required to write a longer review essay of two books and give an individual oral presentation (see the section on assessment below). All students, but especially those who follow the master programme Religion, Culture and Society and plan to write their master’s thesis within the sociology of religion, are encouraged to take the expanded course. Expansion of the course must be included in the “individual programme” for the master and needs to be approved by the exam commission. Students enrolled in other master programmes which work only with 10-point courses might be required to take the expanded course by their own institute.

Course objectives

It is the aim of the course that,

  • students acquire an overview of the current state-of-the-art of the sociology of religion

  • students acquire extensive knowledge on a self-chosen topic within the sociology of religion

  • students develop their ability to critically analyse and evaluate the academic work of others

  • students develop their skills at academic writing, peer feedback, oral presentation, and discussion

  • students develop a sophisticated level of sociological questioning and reasoning about religion, appropriate for writing their master thesis


See timetable:

Meetings: 24h (~1 ects)
Reading assignments: c. 300p (~1,5 ects)
Small tasks: Article presentation, self-evaluation, preparation for conference (~1 ects)
Paper: review of book (c. 200p), 1000-1500 words (~1,5 ects)
(Students who take the course for 10 ects points write instead a major review article of two books, comprising 3200-4000 words, and are required to do two oral presentations.)

Mode of instruction


The first eight sessions consists of a combination of (a) lectures introducing the course and the three themes, (b) seminars in which students (who take the course for 10 ects points) present and evaluate key articles followed by plenary discussion, and © tutorials on writing reviews. Students also report on the progress of their papers. After a writing break, two sessions are then devoted to giving feedback on a first draft of the review. The last two sessions will be lumped together as a concluding mini-conference mid-December. Before the conference, everybody will read the papers of their co-students. At the conference, each student in turn gives a presentation which is followed by discussion.

Course Load

5 ects x 28 h/ects = 140 hours

Regular meetings: 10 × 2 = 20 hours
Reading assignments: 210 pages / 7 p/h = 30 hours
Small tasks, including preparing presentation of chosen book, preparing initial bibliography, preparing giving feedback on other students’ drafts = 10 hours
Attendance conference on Lived Religion = 15 hours
Attendance mini-conference and preparation of oral presentation = 15 hours
Reading book (c. 200 pages) and writing review of 1000-1500 words = 50 hours

Students who take the course for 10 ects points write instead a major review article of two books, comprising 3200-4000 words, and are required to do an oral presentation of a key article.

Assessment method

The final mark will be a weighted average of two marks:
(1) Oral presentation and participation at mini-conference, active participation in class, self-evaluation of review draft, and (10-pointers only) oral presentation and evaluation of article: 40%.
(2) Final review: 60%.


Yes, Blackboard

Reading list

Master copies of the required readings can be found on the course plank in the university library.
Most readings will be journal articles which students can easily download themselves via the university library.


Via uSis
In addition to the registration in uSis, students are also expected to self-enroll in Blackboard a few weeks before the course starts.

Contact information

Exchange students are particularly encouraged to enroll for the course.
Students who which to specialise in the sociology of religion within the master track Religion, Culture and Society should contact M.A. Davidsen well in advance before the semester to discuss interests and competences and formally agree on an individual master programme.

Drs. M. Davidsen


The course will be taught in English.