American Religious History is a seminar that complements an introductory course on American religion. While the traditions, regions, and time periods covered are relatively broad, the seminar is less concerned about comprehensive coverage than it is about critically exploring how individuals, families, and communities have drawn upon religion to give meaning to self, group, and nation. Readings and discussion, fieldwork, and research/writing form the core of the course and together suggest the breadth and diversity of the religious history of the United States. The readings consist of historical monographs, articles, biography, fiction, and journalistic accounts. The class is taught as a history seminar and as such, there is an emphasis upon asking how the readings relate not only to the historiography of American religion, but also to the larger contexts of American history. Students are asked to critically explore why it is that so much of American history is written and taught as if religion did not exist. How would our understanding of central themes in our collective past be altered if we paid more attention to religion?
This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.
Claremont McKenna CollegeInstitution
Private College or University Institution Type
Syllabus Resource Type
Undergraduate Course Class Type
1999 Date Published
Religious Studies, History Discipline
General Comparative Traditions Religous Tradition
Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars Topics