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Topics in United States Intellectual History: Religion and National Culture
HIST 235
Fall 2010
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: AMST 236, RELI 285

This lecture/discussion course offers sustained analysis of a selected topic central to an intellectual history of the United States. This semester's topic is the role of religion in the intellectual life of the nation. We will examine both the work of American theologians and the ways that other American intellectuals have thought about religion and its function as a language of authority in both state and society. We will explore the ramifications of conceptions of the United States as a Protestant and millennial nation and the challenges to that conception posed by the growing diversity of religions in the country. The variety of spiritual practices and the clashes between religion and science generated debates that continue to haunt the study of religion. From participation in a transatlantic evangelical culture to the rise of the Social Gospel and theological modernism through the fundamentalist response to liberal religion and Darwinism, the course charts the influence of Protestant Christianity in American culture and evaluates claims about the development of a distinctively American religious style. The replacement of overt anti-Catholicism and anti-Semitism with the notion of a Judeo-Christian heritage that celebrated the incorporation of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish traditions into American civil religion figures as the central dynamic of the 20th century. The course concludes with a consideration of the culture's surprising resistance to the secularist tendencies of most other Western powers and the continuing centrality of religion(s) in the national culture.

Essential Capabilities: Ethical Reasoning
Among other matters, this course examines the varied ways in which American intellectuals and political leaders utilized religious languages of authority in their constructions of a national culture and deployed religion as the foundation for both public and personal morality.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS HIST
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(HIST-MN)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUL-23-2024
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