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Geography of American Religion

This course combines perspectives from the fields of geography, anthropology, performance studies, and religious studies to cultivate a deeper understanding of how communities produce, maintain, and legitimize sanctified spaces. Although course readings direct our attention toward U.S.-based case studies, we will also consider their transnational dimensions—how religious groups build belief across national boundaries. We will pay particular attention to the political and economic factors that facilitate the development of transnational sacred spaces. In some cases, our starting points are actually located outside of the United States. By expanding our horizons, we will be able to critically engage the idea that American religious spaces, and notions of American religion more generally, are produced primarily within the boundaries of the U.S. nation-state.


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

Elaine Peña

George Washington University

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Other

Buddhism, Catholic, General Comparative Traditions, Islam, New Religious Movements, Other Traditions, Protestant
Religous Tradition

Empire/Foreign Policy/Globalism, Region/Urban/Rural, Nationalism/War/Civil Religion

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