This seminar starts with major classical theories of sociology of religion including those of secularization and privatization of religion in the modern world. Then we shall examine the relevant events of the past quarter of the century, namely the sudden explosion of politicized and highly public religions in the Western and the non-Western worlds. The existing sociological literature didn't anticipate the current significance of religion and this tension is expected to generate interesting debates in this seminar. Special attention will be given to a comparative study of public religions in Western countries (e.g., Brazil, Poland, Spain, and the United States) and in the Middle East (Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia). Pre-requisites: SOAN 110 and any SOAN course at the 200 level or higher or consent of the instructor. (Meets the GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)