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Religion and Nature in America

This course offers a survey of American religions from colonial times to the present, using the theme of “nature” and the “natural.” Using methods and theories from the academic study of religion, we will explore how American religions have made meaning out of their encounters with non-human nature, and in turn, how natural environments have shaped religious belief and practice. Rather than cover every religious movement in American history (a fool’s errand), we will look at a series of case studies that open up recurrent themes, issues, and tensions in American religious history.


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

Brett Grainger

Villanova University

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, American Studies

General Comparative Traditions, New Religious Movements
Religous Tradition


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