Religions in the United States

RLST 2500-100 | 3.0
Online - Term A June 5 - July 7
Instructor: Deborah Whitehead

This course will introduce students to the historical and contemporary study of religions in the United States.  It will not seek to give either a comprehensive historical account of the development of all American religions, nor a survey of all religious institutions, movements, and traditions that have made up the vast and diverse U.S. religious landscape.  Rather, the course approaches the topic of religions in the U.S. through a framework of religious literacy and the investigation of primary source texts, which, set in context, will give us snapshots of religion as lived, practiced, and experienced by Americans of all backgrounds during the past 400 years.  Along the way we will encounter many of the key religious traditions, movements, and figures that have shaped American religious belief and practice.  In addition the course will consider such questions as:  What major cultural forces shape and have shaped religions in America?  How have Americans of different faiths and nationalities encountered, interacted, argued, clashed, and cooperated with one another?  Have they seen America as a promised land or place of refuge—or as a place of conflict and suffering?  What are some ways that religious Americans think about faith, spirituality, religious diversity and church and state?  Ultimately, how does the academic study of religion shed light on what it means to be an “American” or a religious American? 

A&S Core: Ideals and Values
A&S Core: United States Context
Arts & Sciences General Education: Distribution–Arts & Humanities
Arts & Sciences General Education: Diversity
–U.S. Perspective

Christian Traditions

RLST 3000-100 | 3.0 
Online - Term A June 5 - July 7
Instructor: Brian Catlos

Serves as an introduction to the academic study of Christianity, understood in its historical context, beginning with its most remote Mesopotamian origins and through to beginnings of the Protestant Reformation. Coverage is global, but "Western" Christian tradition are emphasized, as is the evolution of doctrine, ritual and institutions in relation to social, cultural and political factors.

A&S Core: Historical Context
Arts & Sciences General Education: Distribution–Arts & Humanities