This course explores the phenomenon of “New Religious Movements,” sometimes called “cults.” We look at how NRM is actually a category group’s move into and out of, rather than a
fixed list of religious traditions; it is a label that almost no group embraces. In the American context, nearly every religious group that has come to enjoy social approval and a “mainstream” label spent some time in the NRM category. The popular media is one of the key tools that facilitate the creation and maintenance of the NRM category. We will look at how various media outlets (pamphlets, newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet) use the NRM category, why they do so, and explore the impact this has on the broader society. Finally, this course looks at how violence, both physical and rhetorical, is an integral part of the way that the NRM category has functioned in the American context since the 17th century.
This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.
Cleveland State UniversityInstitution
Public College or University Institution Type
Syllabus Resource Type
Undergraduate Course Class Type
2016 Date Published
Religious Studies Discipline
New Religious Movements Religous Tradition
Class/Power, Politics/Law/Government, Popular Culture/Media/Music/Sports, Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars Topics