Sociologists Elaine Howard Ecklund, Ph.D., and Robert Thomson, Ph.D., examine the tensions and possibilities that occur when religion interfaces with the workplace, politics and science.
Despite predictions that religion would fade away at the dawn of modernity, scholars have documented the remarkable persistence, and even growth, of religion around the world. As religion continues to change form, increasing religious diversity sometimes leads to heightened polarization in the public sphere. Sociologists Elaine Howard Ecklund, Ph.D., and Robert Thomson, Ph.D., examine the tensions and possibilities that occur when religion interfaces with the workplace, politics and science. We collectively investigate how religion shapes public views and public policy in these three important spheres. This class is designed to help you understand current debates about religion in public discourse, provide you with tools to engage in civil and informed dialogue about religion, and offer new perspectives on religion and public life in the United States and across the globe. The course incorporates lecture, as well as discussion and other approaches that invite you to engage actively with these issues.
Elaine Howard Ecklund, Ph.D., is the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, a professor of sociology, a Rice Scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy and the founding director of the Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP) at Rice University. Her latest research focuses on how scientists in different nations understand religion, ethics and gender. She is the author of four books and more than 60 research articles. Dr. Ecklund has received grants and awards from the National Science Foundation and a number of other organizations. In 2013, she received the Charles Duncan Award for Most Outstanding Academic Achievement.
Robert Thomson, Ph.D., joined the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University as a postdoctoral research fellow in July 2017, after completing a doctorate in sociology at Baylor University. His dissertation, “Religion and Differential Justice,” explores the complex associations between race, religion and outcomes related to the criminal justice system. His research on religion, criminology, justice attitudes and substance use has been published in a number of journals, including Deviant Behavior, Journal of Drug Issues and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Term: Fall 2018
Start Date: Oct. 11, 2018
End Date: Nov. 08, 2018
Schedule: 7-8:30 p.m.
Length: Four Thursdays (no class Oct. 25)
Location: Rice campus
Early Registration: $165 if registering by Sept. 27