Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
SOC 219
Course Title:
Religion & Culture: Social Dimensions
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Explores the relationship between culture, social structure, and religion, through a comparative and cross-cultural examination of religious beliefs, practices, and organization. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

While facilitating an appreciation of broad spectrum of human beliefs and practices and cross-cultural considerations of spirituality and ethics, it will address comparative analysis of traditional values versus modern perspectives. The principle focus will be on the social dimensions of religion in identification and analysis of the emerging realities and critical global concerns related to the environment, health, family, gender, economics and politics.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Student successfully completing this course will understand critical thinking and will be able to apply sociological imagination in analysis and presentation of the interaction between spirituality, religion and culture. While demonstrating an informed analysis of contemporary multicultural and cross-cultural issues and relations, student will be further able to explore and offer proactive strategies leading to harmonious and collaborative coexistence with our environment and differences.

Effective Learning outcome €“ Expand and enhance the quality and extend of  learning outcome through understanding, analysis, and appreciation.

Cohort Learning €“ Provide stimulating, engaging, and effective learning atmosphere of collaboration based on cohort learning model.  

Guided Inquiry €“ Learning to conduct original inquiry including research methods, writing, effective presentation techniques, strategic planning and teamwork.  

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Student€™s learning outcome will be assessed continuously through a variety of tasks and activities: 

  • Attendance and participation will be required €“ A dynamic and interactive format will focus on pro-active participation by student 

  • Reading review and critical analysis papers €“ On topics related to the reading assignments. 

  • Small group exercises and presentations €“ Will be guided through critical thinking and analysis. 

  • Final group project €“ The principle component of the course will require intensive team effort by each project group involving research, analysis and presentation of selected topics related to the course. 

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

The course will contain both theoretical as well as experimental components complemented by a variety of expert guest lecturers, scholars and spiritual leaders representing different orientations and belief communities. To reach its objective, this course will be non-traditional, participatory, and interactive. Utilizing a cohort learning model, the course will afford students a variety of opportunities for hand-on practical problem solving and team building within the context of small group settings. 

Topics addressed will include: 

  • Sociological Perspectives and applications
  • Social Dimensions of Spirituality and Religion
  • Fundamental Features of Religions
  • Prehistoric and Contemporary Belief Systems and Communities
  • Religion and Social Order
  • Religion and Environment, a Cross Cultural Perspective
  • Native American Spirituality
  • In Search for the Common Ground, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
  • Religion and Family, Love and Courtship and Marriage
  • Religion and Gender, Origins of Patriarchy and Gender Socialization
  • Religion and Health, The Spiritual Dimension of Health
  • Transcendent Idealism and Spirituality
  • Spirituality, the Search for New Identity

Student is expected to have acquired a rich awareness of social and cultural aspects of spirituality and religion. While having a broad understanding of the impact of belief systems and ethical considerations on various aspects of social structure and culture, the student is expected to recognize the various dynamics involved as they relate to their own experiences and relations. Students should be able to effectively communicate these understandings through creative writing and oral presentation utilizing themes, concepts, and theories emerging from readings, lectures, video presentations and classroom discussions. 


Spirituality, Religion and Culture, A Sociology of Religion Reading Packet- Researched and compiled by the instructor. The reading packet is updated each time the course is offered. Due to an extensive range of topics and subjects covered in this course assigning texts prove to be insufficient, costly and problematic. Based on past experience, particularly student feedback and learning outcome, reading packet option has proven to be a very effective option for this course.