L57 RelPol 201

Religion and American Society

Spring 2021, Fall 2018, Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Fall 2013, T/Th 1:00–2:20PM

This course explores religious life in the United States. 

line drawing of three people teaching superimposed on each other

This course explores religious life in the United States. We will focus our study on groups and movements that highlight distinctive ways of being both “religious” and “American,” including the Americanization of global religions in the US context. Major themes will include religious encounter and conflict; secularization, resurgent traditionalism, and new religious establishments; experimentalism, eclecticism, and so-called “spiritual” countercultures; the relationship between religious change and broader social and political currents (including clashes over race, class, gender, and sexuality); and the challenges of religious multiplicity in the US. You will: 1) acquire knowledge of the disparate religions practiced in North America during the twentieth century and beyond; 2) examine some of the chief conflicts as well as alliances between religion and the American social order in a global context; and 3) develop interpretive tools for understanding religion´s present and enduring role in the US and the world.

Spring 2021 notes on course mode: In-person (remote welcome). Synchronous each meeting.

Course History

  • Fall 2013: taught by Prof. Marie Griffith and Dr. Anne Blankenship
  • Fall 2016: taught by Prof. Laurie Maffly-Kipp
  • Fall 2017: taught by Prof. Laurie Maffly-Kipp
  • Fall 2018: taught by Prof. Marie Griffith

  • Great professor teaching an important subject. American citizens deserve better education of religions.

    — Fall 2018

  • The feedback I was given on my weekly reflections boosted my confidence and helped me tweak my writing schedule.

    — Fall 2018