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History of Religion in the United States

This course will explore the history of religion in the United States from the colonial period to the present, with emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our focus will be less on theological issues than on the political, cultural, ethnic, racial and gender dimensions of religion. Major themes will include: the diversity of religious traditions in this nation; the intersections between religion and politics; and the ways in which religion has shaped and been shaped by national, ethnic and racial identities. Throughout the course, we will bring together past and present by discussing how the study of religious history informs our understanding of current issues and debates.


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

Evelyn Sterne

University of Rhode Island

Public College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, History

Catholic, General Comparative Traditions, Indigenous, Judaism, New Religious Movements, Other Christianities, Protestant
Religous Tradition

Gender/Women/ Sexuality, He​alth/Death, Immigration/Refugees, Politics/Law/Government, Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity

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