Religious Studies | Religion in Modern America
R336 | 25865 | Lofton, K.

Suddenly, it seemed religion was everywhere: Reform synagogues in
Ohio, snake handlers in West Virginia, Pentecostals praising in Los
Angeles, Chinese Buddhists in Seattle, and Mormons spilling forth
from their Zion in Utah. This course studies the explosive presence
of religion in the modern United States. Thematic emphasis will be
place on the expansion of religious pluralism and the diverse views
of religious groups on such topics as secularization, modern
science, race, family, and the nation.
Starting with Reconstruction, we will trace the emergence of
Protestant fundamentalism, the diversity of Asian religious
traditions, and the growth of New Age spirituality. Along the way,
we will meet Mary Baker Eddy, Malcolm X, Jim Jones, and Oprah
Winfrey; we will visit the World’s Parliament of Religion, the
Scopes trial courthouse, civil rights protests, and contemporary
evangelical megachurches. Students should be prepared to learn not
only a historical chronology of key events in American religious
history, but also how to apply a set of critical categories to the
comparison and classification of religious beliefs and behaviors.
Requirements will include three short essays, a midterm, and a final