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Religion in America: From Protestantism to Pluralism

America has often been paradoxically defined as simultaneously the “most religious” and “least religious” of nations. This course, an historical survey of American religious life, will trace the unique story of American religion from colonial contact with native cultures to the present. Along the way, we will examine Puritan life and thought, the emergence of evangelicalism, liberal and radical challenges to the Protestant mainstream, the impact of Jewish and Catholic immigration, African-American religious experience, the importance of women’s history and the ongoing challenges of religious diversity. Readings include sermons, essays, diaries and fiction, as well as secondary source material.


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

Rebecca Kneale Gould

Middlebury College

Private College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies

Catholic, Indigenous, Judaism, New Religious Movements, Protestant
Religous Tradition

Class/Power, Gender/Women/ Sexuality, Immigration/Refugees, Politics/Law/Government, Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity, Nationalism/War/Civil Religion

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