What does religious commitment look like among young adults? Our focus in this class will center on young adults in America--those often labeled "emerging adults"--and the nature of their religious involvement (or lack thereof) from adolescence through their later 20s. The continuation of any religious tradition is dependent on the ability to pass along beliefs and practices across generations. Yet, the challenges of sustaining religion appears to be increasing, although unevenly and in not-so-obvious ways. De-conversion, disaffiliation, and disbelief are growing options, and religious diversity and tolerance are more important than ever. Overall, this seminar pursues the most current sociological analysis available at the intersection of age and religion. Our class begins with a broad discussion of Karl Mannheim's classic discussion on "the problem of generations" and a conceptual discussion of age, generation , and historical effects. The class continues with an analysis of religion in adolescence. Several research sources on the complexities of young adult religion will quickly culminate into an examination of topics including family relationships, peer influences, sexuality, parachurch organizations, college students, and dating/courtship dynamics.
Students entering 2012 and after: Provides a distribution credit in social-scientific thought.