Department of Sociology
University of Memphis
Clement Hall, Room 209
Memphis TN 38152
Phone: (901) 678-3341
Fax: (901) 678-2525
Larry Petersen is Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of Graduate Studies. He
received his Ph.D. from Washington State University in 1977. His main areas of teaching
interests are the sociology of the family and the sociology of religion. The major
focus of his religion research has been on sources and consequences of religious commitment.
Dr. Petersen's most recent publications examine the role that religious plausibility
structures (networks of individuals who share similar religious beliefs) play in sustaining
traditional beliefs about such things as premarital sex, gay rights, and gender roles.
These publications also examine whether or not participation in religious plausibility
structures counteracts education's liberalizing influence on beliefs about such things
as abortion and literal interpretations of the Bible.
Dr. Petersen teaches courses on the Sociology of Religion and Marriage and the Family.
SOCI 3831 Marriage & Family
6 Styles of Love
Marital Conflict Theory
Systems of Mate Selection
SOCI 7860 Seminar in Sociology of Religion
The Sacred Canopy Presentation
What Sociology Students of Religion Should Know