Summer 2023 - SA 322 D100

Religion and Society (SA) (4)

Class Number: 4830

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SWH 10051, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Bascom Guffin
    Office: TBD
    Office Hours: By appointment, in person or online
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of the relations between religion and the social environment. Consideration will be given to classical theoretical debates in the anthropology and sociology of religion. Specific topics vary from year to year, and may include: religion in personhood and communities; religion, gender, ethnicity and social class; secularization and secularism; the role of religion in political mobilizations; interreligious relations; religious freedom and citizenship.


This course focuses on the role of religion in the contemporary world. Among other topics, we will explore the ways religion becomes more mobile in an era of increasing global migration as well as ways that many people look to religion for a sense of both spiritual and spatial rootedness. We will also examine various ways that religious institutions and practitioners incorporate new technologies to express and spread their faiths. Throughout the course, we will work to develop a deeper understanding of religions as thoroughly modern phenomena that are important in shaping the world as we know it. We approach this project as partners, and we will be insightful and generous critics to the material and each other.


  • Class Participation and Attendance 15%
  • Weekly Reading & Lecture Responses 15%
  • First Paper - Reflection on Religion and Space 15%
  • Second Paper - Building a Hypothesis 20%
  • Final Paper - Putting It All Together 35%


Grading: Grades in this class will be based on a percentage scale. Reading/lecture responses will not be accepted after 10 a.m. the day of class; late submissions for other assignments will result in a grade reduction of 5 percentage points per day, except in cases of a medical or other significant emergency. Except for reading responses or unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style. It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved! Follow our Facebook and Instagram pages!




Peña, Elaine A. 2011. Performing Piety: Making Space Sacred with the Virgin of Guadalupe. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Hirshkind, Charles. 2006. The Ethical Soundscape: Cassette Sermons and Islamic Counterpublics. New York: Columbia University Press.

Both books are available on reserve at Fraser Library at SFU’s Surrey campus. Both are also available electronically through SFU’s online library system.

Additional required readings are available through Canvas, the SFU Library, or online as noted.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.