Events

Nancy Ammerman | Sociologists Studying Religion: Old Ideas, New Realities.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 11:30am

UMass Amherst | Thompson 919 - Rossi Room

UMass Amherst Sociology | Nancy Ammerman | Sociologists Studying Religion: Old Ideas, New Realities.

Sociologists Studying Religion: Old Ideas, New Realities.

The study of religion was foundational to the birth of sociology as a discipline, and the questions raised in those early engagements remain relevant today – what holds societies together; how are power relations maintained; how are legitimacy and meaning constructed? The early answers were largely predicated on Enlightenment-inflected understandings of what religion is and resulted in answers that have not held up well over the last half-century. In a postcolonial world and with a feminist lens, sociologists have turned to cultural and practice-based understandings that are allowing the study of religion to escape the trap of ideas and institutions to find its way into everyday social realities. Drawing on analysis from Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life, this talk will explore some of the unexpected intersections of “secular” action and religious practice.

Nancy Ammerman is Professor of Sociology at Boston University. She is the author of several books covering topics of modern religiosity, American congregations, religious conservatism and fundamentalism. Her most recent book is Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life, (Oxford University Press, 2013). She also contributed sections on Christian movements for the volumes of “The Funda¬men¬talism Pro¬ject” of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Ammerman was the 2004-05 President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the 2000-01 Chair of the Religion Section of the American Sociological Association, and the 1995-96 President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. She is a frequently quoted news source on a variety of topics.