Spring 2020

Religion and Political Communication: Preachers, Demagogues and Trolls in the Society of the Spectacle

Listed in: Anthropology and Sociology, as SOCI-310


Utku B. Balaban (Section 01)


Secularization of the society poses challenges for organized religions, which in return adopt new communication strategies to address the risk of a shrinking believer base. In this course, we survey some recent strategies with an emphasis on the discursive tactics by clerics of Semitic religions. Students will review theories of political communication and read case studies on how clerics (or “preachers”) use mass and social media. Then, we will relate these strategies to the way political celebrities (or “demagogues”) and anonymous figures (or “trolls”) convey messages about how society works (or fails to work) to the public. Students will learn how to assess written and oral material using content analysis and conduct a pilot study about the material produced by clerics.

Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Visiting Associate Professor Balaban.

If Overenrolled: Priority given to Sociology and Anthropology majors


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020