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Religion in the American West

This course explores the history of religion in the American West. The boundaries of this topic are fuzzy, at best: what is religion, exactly? Is it more than going to church? More than what someone believes? Can planting gardens count as a religious practice? What about rock climbing? And where is the West? Is California part of the West? Was it ever part of the West? What about Wyoming? What is the difference? We will begin with considerations of these questions, and keep them in mind throughout the course. This course has three major learning outcomes: 1.) Students will synthesize the religious history of the American West by identifying key figures, groups, ideas, and events and explaining the connections between them. 2.) Students will evaluate how the physical, social, and cultural environments of the West have affected the presence and practice of religion, and vice versa. 3.) Students will recognize and analyze manifestations of religion that do not fit dominant institutional models.


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

Quincy D. Newell

University of Wyoming

Public College or University
Institution Type

Resource Type

Undergraduate Course
Class Type

Date Published

Religious Studies, American Studies, Area Studies

New Religious Movements, Other Christianities
Religous Tradition

Race/Ethnicity, Region/Urban/Rural, Nationalism/War/Civil Religion, Science/Technology/Environment

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