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Religion in America

This course focuses on important currents, representative populations, significant works, and interpretive methods in American religious history. While the direction of the course is loosely chronological, it is not intended as a comprehensive survey of American religions; much of importance is necessarily omitted. In providing a broad overview of the development of religious ideas, rituals, and forms of community from the colonial period to the present, the course gives attention to economic change, politics, immigration, gender, regionalism, and racial and ethnic diversity. Religions to be studied include those of Native Americans; Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish European Americans; Protestant, Catholic, and Muslim African Americans; and others. Each of these groups itself constitutes a diversity; a central question of the course will be on the relationship between religious and other identities (racial, national, gender, ethnic), and on the ways in which these identities are conceived, expressed, maintained, and interpreted. We will also look at the ways in which these groups have attempted to manage their relations with one another, particularly during periods of colonialism, slavery, and immigration.


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

Tracy Fessenden

Arizona State University

Public College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies

Catholic, Indigenous, Islam, Judaism, Protestant
Religous Tradition

Business/Capitalism/Labor, Gender/Women/ Sexuality, Immigration/Refugees, Politics/Law/Government, Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity

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