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Academic Video Online delivers more than 67,000 titles spanning a range of subject areas including anthropology, business, counseling, film, health, history, music, and more. It includes documentaries, films, demonstrations, and other content types. Films in the Boston University Libraries catalog are licensed to Boston University for educational and research use only, for BU students, faculty, and staff.
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Kanopy is a provider of documentaries, training films, and theatrical releases available as streaming video. Clips from the videos can be embedded in presentations or shown in class. Films in the Boston University Libraries catalog are licensed to Boston University for educational and research use only, for BU students, faculty, and staff.
BU Libraries Search (BULS) This link opens in a new window
BU Libraries Search provides a single place to search for a wide variety of academic material provided by the library. The material covered by the search includes books, journals, scores, video and audio recordings, and other physical items held by the library. The search also covers ebooks and ejournals owned by the library, as well as online material provided by the library from a variety of sources.
The Sociological Cinema
The Sociological Cinema is a resource for using video and pop culture to teach and learn sociology. We started as a database of annotated video clips, and have since expanded into other forms of media to engage students in teaching and learning.
Crash Course Sociology: Religion (Streaming, Academic Video Online)
Today we're turning our sociological eye to another major social institution: religion. We'll use symbolic interactionism to help us understand the dichotomy of the Sacred vs. the Profane. We'll compare the perspectives of structural functionalists and conflict theorists on whether religion improves social cohesiveness or increases social stratification. We'll also explore how religious practice in the US differs across race and class lines.
Civil Religion (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Analyzes the use of symbols, describes different types of symbolic activity, and observes how symbols play a key role in all human cultural activity, including religion. The class also explores Civil Religion, a form of myth that validates the social order. Key questions are posed about American myths, the "liturgical cycle” of American holidays, and other related issues.
Unorthodox (streaming, Academic Video Online)
At sixteen, Anna Wexler broke away from her Orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey, rejecting its religious doctrine and social restrictions, and severing ties to her family. She ran away from home, slept on the streets, and experimented with sex and drugs alongside friends who had also left the Orthodox world. A common rite of passage for Orthodox Jews involves spending a year post-high school studying in Israel. Anna discovered that
The Decline of Religion? (streaming, Academic Video Online)
With contributions from leading experts on the study of religion, this film gives students a new take on secularisation theory. While secularisation theory assumes that in pre-modernity religion was everywhere whereas in modernity it's almost nowhere, more recent research suggests that rather than disappearing, religion is undergoing a process of diversification, with the emergence of new and different forms of spirituality. The film introduces students to the concept of secularisation, its relationship to modernisation, and a range of evaluative points that can be brought to bear in any discussion of secularisation.
Waco: The Rules of Engagement (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Waco: The Rules of Engagement is the first full-length documentary film to present the complete picture of the series of events outside Waco, Texas during 1993 that resulted in the shooting of 4 federal agents and the deaths of 86 men, women, and children of the Branch Davidian religious sect.
New Religions: Alternative Spiritualities? (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Sometimes practised far away from the world and sometimes in the full glare of hostile media, there are thousands of new religions. With examples, such as the Moonies, Scientology, the Missionary Church of Kopimism, Paganism and the doomsday cult Heaven’s Gate, this film identifies some of the characteristics of these new religious movements and how some scholars see their rise as an example of a major cultural shift where increasing numbers of people are losing faith
Around the World in 80 Faiths series (Academic Video Online)
Pete Owen Jones presents the definitive guide to faith on earth, with eighty rituals across six continents in the space of a year.
Interview with Nancy Ammerman
Watch this extended interview with Nancy Ammerman about the recent Pew survey
Mind the Gap (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Mind the Gap follows a Sikh family, originating from Kenya, living in London, who emigrates to Australia and finally travels to India - in search of their roots. Their story epitomises the problems confronting thousands of families struggling with the clash of cultures, religions and generations in the 21st century.
Delta Jews (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Delta Jews traces the history of the community and its relationship to its white Christian and black neighbors.
The Pig Commandments (streaming, Academic Video Online)
This fascinating film illustrates how religious differences, even on the basic level of dietary prohibitions, can affect the way neighbors interact. It focuses on Malaysia, home to 12 million Muslims and 6 million Chinese. Islam bans the eating of pork, considering it unclean, while the Chinese have treasured pork for thousands of years.
Soul Searching: A Movie about Teenagers and God (dvd)
The documentary SOUL SEARCHING: A MOVIE ABOUT TEENAGERS AND GOD examines the religious and spiritual lives of American (mostly Christian) teenagers from all over the United States. The film is based on research conducted by the National Study of Youth and Religion under the direction of Dr. Christian Smith, who also collaborated with the filmmakers Michael and Timothy Eaton.
Interracial Churches (PBS)
Even though America has elected its first black president, efforts toward racial integration are often still fraught with difficulties, not least in churches where it’s been said that 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week.
Amish Riddle (streaming, Academic Video Online)
Sociologist Dr. Donald Kraybill explains the origins of their customs, giving the rationale behind their rejection of the modern world. He speculates on the prospects for their cultural survival in the twenty-first century.
Devil's Playground (dvd)
This documentary by Lucy Walker follows several Amish teens as they go through rumspringa, a period where they are allowed to experience the outside world and all its sinful delights.
Cult Breakers (streaming, Academic Video Online)
An inside view of the "brainwashing" techniques used by religious cults and convert-breakers.
Going clear : Scientology & the prison of belief (streaming, Academic Video Online)
A provocative tale of ego, exploitation and lust for power, GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF shines a light on the Church of Scientology, how they attract true believers, and the things they do in the name of religion.
Why Do People Join Cults (TED)
Today, there are thousands of cults around the world. Broadly speaking, a cult is a group or movement with a shared commitment to a usually extreme ideology that's typically embodied in a charismatic leader. But what exactly differentiates cults from other groups – and why do people join them? Janja Lalich describes how cults recruit and manipulate their members.
The Five Major World Religions (TED)
It’s perfectly human to grapple with questions, like ‘Where do we come from?’ and ‘How do I live a life of meaning?’ These existential questions are central to the five major world religions — and that’s not all that connects these faiths. John Bellaimey explains the intertwined histories and cultures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.
Rastafarians : religion or way of life (streaming, Academic Video Online)
For years, Rastafarians from Jamaica have gone to live in Shashemene Ethiopia, a land that the late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia gave to them. Today, many are happy to be home.
Legacy of the Spirits (streaming, Kanopy)
Legacy of the Spirits traces the religion of Vodou (voodoo) from Africa to Haiti to New York City. It explains the theology of the religion, the meaning of the rituals, the pantheon of spirits, possession, the sacred drawings (called ve-ve), the Catholic influence, the history of persecution and more.
Kumare (streaming, Kanopy)
A provocative social experiment-turned-documentary, KUMARE follows American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi as he transforms himself into a wise Indian guru, hoping to prove the absurdity of blind faith. Instead, he finds himself forging profound connections with people from all walks of life -- and wondering if and when to reveal his true self.
Jonestown: The Life & Death of Peoples Temple (streaming, Kanopy)
This New York Times Critic's Pick tells the story of the people who followed cult leader Jim Jones to the remote jungles of Guyana, South America, in a misbegotten quest to build an ideal society. The 1960s ushered in intense social and cultural tumult; it was the Age of Aquarius, when change was in the air, and revolution was on the horizon. Some looked to free love, Black Power, or drugs. But for others, Jim Jones, the charismatic leader of Peoples Temple, offered the perfect balance of spiritual fulfillment and political commitment. Jones not only preached about integration and equality, but built an organization that provided food, clothing and shelter to his congregation and his community. On the surface, Jim Jones and the multi-racial Peoples Temple congregation espoused the values of a model society. But upon closer examination, something was amiss. In the summer of 1977, with the publication of an expose in New West magazine, the truth about Peoples Temple was exposed. Defectors and family members gave accounts of physical, sexual and drug abuse, financial corruption, and members being held against their will. On November 18, 1978, over 900 members of Peoples Temple died in the largest mass suicide/murder in history.
God Loves Uganda (streaming, Kanopy)
In GOD LOVES UGANDA, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams (Music by Prudence) explores the role of the American Evangelical movement in fueling Uganda's terrifying turn towards biblical law and the proposed death penalty for homosexuality. Thanks to charismatic religious leaders and a well-financed campaign, these draconian new laws and the politicians that peddle them are winning over the Ugandan public. But these dangerous policies and the money that fuels them aren't coming from Africa; they're being imported from some of America's largest megachurches.
Intro to Religion: Blame Durkheim! (The Social Breakdown)
The gang finally tackles a topic we've been nervous about - religion! We rely on Emile Durkheim's seminal book The Elementary Forms of Religious Life to guide us through this complex but fundamental aspect of human society. We discuss concepts related to religions from Durkheim's perspective from social fact, rituals...
Ministry, Religion, and the Sociological Imagination (Guest Edition) (THe Social Breakdown)
We’re continuing our trek through religion this week with the help of Carly, a trained theologist with a keen sociological imagination. Carly helps us understand how religion can be applied in our everyday lives, particularly within the realm of higher education, through a sociological lens. How is sociology used by ministries to understand how private troubles are evidence of public issues? And, we understand how sociologists make sense of religion, but how do those within religious institutions make sense of it?
Creating God (NPR: Hidden Brain)
This week on Hidden Brain, we explore a provocative idea about the origin, and purpose, of the world's religions.
Sociology of Religion journal podcasts
Listen to podcasts by Sociology of Religion to learn more about recently published content.
Cults part 1 of 2 (The Annex Sociology Podcast)
This is the first in a two-part series on the Sociology of Cults. Our first episode examines the concept of New Religious Movements in sociology. My guest is Rick Moore from Washington University of St Louis.
Cults part 2 of 2 (The Annex Sociology Podcast)
n today’s episode, we strike at the heart of our interests in cults with a talk about group pressures on belief systems with Craig Rawlings of Duke University. Craig recently published “Cognitive Authority and the Constraint of Attitude Change in Groups” in American Sociological Review.
The Everyday Lives of Muslim American Teen Boys (The Annex Sociology Podcast)
oday, we discuss the everyday lives of American Muslim teen boys with John O'Brien (NYU Abu Dhabi). John is author of the award-winning Keeping It Halal: The Everyday Lives of Muslim American Teenage Boys with Princeton University Press.
Linda Woodhead on the new sociology of religion (Social Science Bites)
For years, social scientists who studied religion tended to see it as the study of something fated to decline and therefore the key, and almost only, question in their hymnbook was, "Do you still go to church?" But as societies modernise, religion has not gone away. It has, however, changed, mutating into something more institutional than spiritual for some, more fundamental for others, and generally more complex for all.
Enter Linda Woodhead, a sociologist of religion at Lancaster University. The author of such books as 2013's Everyday Lived Islam in Europe, Religion and Change in Modern Britain and The Spiritual Revolution, she looks at how religion is lived in current societies, and how the new forms interact and contest with the traditional ones amid the context of broader social conditions.
Religion Unmuted podcasts (Religion and Public Life Program, Rice University)
The Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP) at Rice University, directed by Prof. Elaine Howard Ecklund, has launched a new podcast! RELIGION UNMUTED is the podcast that brings women’s voices to the table. We explore how religion impacts public discourse around important social issues, like racism, politics, immigration, health, and the body. Join us for research-driven dialogue that amplifies women’s voices in conversation about religion and public life.
Lois Lee on Recognizing the Non-Religious Office Hours)
In this episode, guest host Jacqui Frost interviews Dr. Lois Lee, whose new book Recognizing the Non-religious: Reimagining the Secular explores the variety of beliefs and identities found within this growing population. They discuss how atheism, the non-religious identity that receives by far the most media attention, is only one non-religious identity among many. Dr. Lee describes findings from her research on non-religious groups and individuals in Britain and the ways they think about, enact, and even wear their non-religion in daily life.
Hijabs and Jobs (The Annex Sociology Podcast)
Today, we talk about how wearing hijabs affect job prospects among Muslim women. Our guest is Eman Abdelhadi (University of Chicago) recently authored “The Hijab and Muslim Women’s Employment in the United States” in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.
SOC113: Christmas Rituals and Traditions (The Social Breakdown)
Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s hard to avoid it. Not only is it a day of celebration for Christian religions, but it has become commercialized and commodified for the sake of consumption and capitalism. Christmas also has a strong culture associated with it, full of rituals and traditions–from decorating the tree to gift-giving to singing in groups in front of people’s houses. Join us this week as we discuss these rituals, and get some tips from our amazing sociology gift guide!
Research on Religion podcast
Our goal for this podcast series is to make scholarly research on religion interesting, relevant and accessible to a broad audience. We intend this audience to include other scholars, clergy members and any one else who has an interest in religion. The conversational format of our podcast is designed to facilitate a jargon-free discussion of major topics within the social scientific study of religion.
Where Does Religion Come From? (Hidden Brain)
This week on Hidden Brain, we explore a provocative idea about the origin, and purpose, of the world's religions.
How to be a Mormon Feminist (Unladylike)
Major religions come with major women problems, but that hasn't stopped feminists of faith from trying to smash religious patriarchy from the inside. Today, Cristen and Caroline talk to Kate Kelly, who did just that in her most sacred community: Mormonism. Find out what happens, and whether Kate thinks feminism and faith are ultimately compatible.