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American Religious History

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.

David Yoo

Claremont McKenna College

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, History

General Comparative Traditions
Religous Tradition

Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars

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