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Religion and Culture in Early New England

The stories of the native Northeast, Protestant New England, and Catholic immigration are often told as separate or competing narratives. What are the webs of relationships, both real and imagined, that help us to understand the rich history of religion in early New England as an interconnected story? How is “New England” itself an unstable category, and how does the self-understanding of various groups change over time? Examining local developments alongside Atlantic world and imperial contexts, we inquire how everyday life in New England was interconnected with broader cultural, social, intellectual, and religious movements. In addition to native Americans, puritans, Baptists, Quakers, Huguenots, and French and Irish Catholics, we will also look at the significance of New England for early Mormonism, as well as the long history of Jews and Africans in the region. Special attention will be given to issues of migration, varieties of cultural prejudice and tolerance, supernaturalism, Protestant-Catholic relations, social reform, and the political and devotional decisions various groups faced as they negotiated a place on the religious landscape.


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

Adrian Chastain Weimer

Providence College

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, Area Studies, History

Catholic, Indigenous, Other Traditions, Protestant
Religous Tradition

Empire/Foreign Policy/Globalism, Immigration/Refugees, Politics/Law/Government, Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity, Region/Urban/Rural

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