Religion in the American West

REL718
Spring 2018
Th 3:30-5:20pm
Area: 
Area III
Professor: 
Permission Not Required
No Limit to Enrollment
Course Description: 

This course investigates the histories of religious encounter and the formation of diverse religious identities in the American West, placing them in broader contexts of Atlantic World, Pacific World, hemispheric, and national histories. The west has played multiple roles in the nation’s imagination: a place to be conquered and controlled, a place for new beginnings (religious or otherwise), a place of perils and of opportunities. Over the course of the semester we will have the opportunity to ponder the religious dimensions of each of these constructed meanings, and to examine their very real impact on the people and landscapes of the west.

Course objectives are for students to develop skills of historical analysis and interpretation; to demonstrate knowledge of the history of Christianity and its encounters with other religious traditions in the American West; and to engage in key historiographical debates around the religious history of the American West.

Background Expected: 

Some previous knowledge of U.S. religious history is helpful but not required.

Course Requirements: 

150-200 pages of reading per week; weekly online reading response; two short analysis papers (4-5 pages); and a final paper (10-12 pages, expanding on one of the earlier papers).

Basis of Evaluation: 

Participation 10%, Reading responses 20%, Analysis papers 20% each, Final paper 30%.