American Religious History (HI-571)
America has long been recognized for its distinct religiosity. This course is designed to offer students an introduction to the development, character, and rich diversity of religious history of the United States. The course will pay special attention to the impact religion has had on American history and inversely how religious traditions have been shaped by their encounter with American culture. Guiding our investigation will be the ideas of contact, exchange, and migration to examine religion in the American past and the processes by which the United States became home to a baffling variety of religious groups who changed and were changed by America. The readings, lectures, online discussion, and virtual field trips will highlight major movements and religious figures that shaped the distinct forms of faith in American society. We will explore the relationship between American culture and its religious life, examining Native American traditions, colonial religious impulses, transnationalism, slavery, revivalism, spiritual creativity, religion and war, immigration, race and ethnicity, church and state, gender, and religious pluralism.