Religion forms a significant part of the rich cultural mosaic of American civilization. But what does it mean to speak of American religion? On one level, the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment have encouraged the most religiously variegated society in the Western world; Americans share no common theology or religious customs. On a deeper level, however, a pervasive religious self-understanding has contributed to a strong cultural consensus that crosses denominational distinctions: America is a new “promised land” populated by a new “chosen people.” This course is an intensive survey of religion and religions in America that addresses this question of radical religious pluralism vs. common cultural identity. Rather than follow a strict chronological survey, we will investigate certain themes in American religious history that best demonstrate the conflicts and accommodations between pluralism and consensus.
This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.
Louisiana State UniversityInstitution
Public College or University Institution Type
Syllabus Resource Type
Undergraduate Course Class Type
1993 Date Published
Religious Studies, American Studies, History Discipline
General Comparative Traditions Religous Tradition
Pluralism/Secularism/Culture Wars, Race/Ethnicity, Nationalism/War/Civil Religion Topics