This course examines diverse indigenous engagements with Christianity in the Americas from earliest contacts to the present. Topics will range from missionary contestations in colonial Mexico to the Native American Church’s fight for religious freedom in 20th Century United States, from historical revitalization movements like the Ghost Dance to postcolonial indigenous theologies in North and South America. Along the way, we will consider a variety of responses to Christian evangelism; including rejection, revitalization, revolt, and renewal. The title of the course implies multiplicity; “native and Christian” can be an opposition, tension, identification, combination, or all of the above. We will wrestle with how to appreciate cultural continuities, account for historical changes and articulate new religious combinations. At the same time, we will tackle questions of violence, asymmetrical power, colonization, and the need for decolonized methodologies. Students should come prepared for an active, lively discussion, and ready to critically investigate the readings, while I will provide short lectures on historical background. Our work together will culminate with research projects on contemporary expressions of indigenous Christianity that will apply the theoretical, historical, and methodological tools acquired in the course.
This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Institution
Public College or University Institution Type
Syllabus Resource Type
Undergraduate Course Class Type
2017 Date Published
Religious Studies, Other Discipline
Indigenous, Other Christianities, Protestant Religous Tradition
Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity Topics