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American Religion & Refugees

This course is a semester-long examination of religion and refugees in American history and culture. We will study what Americans mean—and have meant—when they talk about “religion,” “refugees,” and even “America”; we will examine what it means to belong to a nation as a citizen and what it means to be stateless; we will think historically and critically about nationalism, religion, and American culture; and we will reflect upon the relationships between and among all of these issues and their influence in our lives and American life today. In doing so, we will dwell upon the big questions central to religious and national identity: who belongs and who does not? Who has—or had—the authority to decide who belongs? How is that belonging enforced? What, if anything, unites “us” as an “us”? How do we know who is with “us” and who is not? As we think about these questions, we will see in more ways than one how this issue hits close to home.


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

Cara Burnidge

University of Northern Iowa

Public College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, American Studies

General Comparative Traditions
Religous Tradition

Empire/Foreign Policy/Globalism, Immigration/Refugees, Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity

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