Religion and National Culture in the United States|
Spring 2018 not offered
HIST 236, RELI 285|
This lecture/discussion course offers sustained analysis of 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 consider 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 both the study of religion and political life. 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 contemporary religious developments, including New Age formations and the growing presence of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam, and the continuing centrality of religion(s) in the national culture.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(HIST-MN)(RELI)(SISP-Hist Conc)(SISP-Reli Conc)
Paul Harvey, Freedom's Coming: Religious Culture and the Shaping of the South from the Civil War
through the Civil Rights Era
Edward Larson, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over
Science and Religion
Robert Orsi, Between Heaven and Earth: The Religious Worlds People Make and the Scholars
Who Study Them
Jonathan Sarna, American Judaism
Leigh Schmidt, Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion and the American Enlightenment
Ann Taves, Fits, Trances & Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from
Wesley to James
|Examination and Assignments: |
Two short papers, mid-term exam, and final paper. Participation in class discussion.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This course fulfills the "Thematic Approach" OR "Historical Tradition" requirement for the Religion Department and the pre-1900 requirement for the American Studies major.
|Drop/Add Enrollment Requests|
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