Spring 2015 -
Graduate Course Description
Discipline and Number
1:00 PM - 3:45 PM
|Race in American Religion
Description of Course:
Religious history offers unique perspectives on racial discourse in the United States. Faith traditions often offered theories of instant racial harmony through conversion alongside long-term sponsorship of race-based slavery, segregation, and violence. This course explores the power of race in American religion from the 1840s (when denominations split over slavery controversies) to the 1980s (the AIDS crisis) and the present (including modern racial reconciliation movements). Our readings will explore Catholic and Protestant efforts to define race and address racial controversies from sacred perspectives. These racial controversies touch on many significant themes in American history, including emancipation, colonialism, warfare, public health, globalization, and mass media. In addition to analyzing historical scholarship, we will also trace this topic in sociological, political, and theological texts. You will have opportunities to explore the power of race in other faith traditions (such as Judaism and Buddhism) through examples in our local community. This course is based on a 2010-2011 summer seminar sponsored by the Lilly Endowmen, so affiliated scholars may also offer guest lectures during the semester.
Required texts will include the following:
-Stephen W. Angell and Anthony B. Pinn. Social Protest Thought in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1862-1939. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2000.
-Blum, Edward J. & Harvey, Paul. The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012.
-Carolyn Dupont, Mississippi Praying: Southern White Evangelicals and the Civil Rights Movement, 1945-1975. New York: NYU Press, 2013.
-Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith. Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780195147070
-J. Russell Hawkins and Phillip Luke Sinitiere. Christians and the Color Line: Race and Religion after Divided by Faith. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. ISBN: 9780199329502
-Stephen Haynes. The Last Segregated Hour: The Memphis Kneel-Ins and the Campaign for Southern Church Desegregation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
-Rebecca Y. Kim. The Spirit Moves West: Korean Missionaries in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.
- John McGreevy, Parish Boundaries: The Catholic Encounter with Race in the Twentieth-Century Urban North. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.
-Mark Mulder. Shades of White Flight: Evangelical Congregations and Urban Departure. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, Forthcoming 2015.
- H. Shelton Smith, In His Image, But...Racism in Southern Religion, 1780-1910. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1972.
-Nancy Wadsworth, Ambivalent Miracles: Evangelicals and the Politics of Racial Healing. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014.
Other readings may be placed on reserve, and this list is subject to change.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Grades will be determined through four assignments and one exam: a three-page response essay based on one weekly theme (7%), a five-page historiography (15% of your grade), a midterm examination comparing key terms within short responses (20% of your grade), a five-page essay based on community observation (15% of your grade), and a 12-15 page final research essay (36% of your grade). The remaining 7% of the grade will be based on participation in class discussions and activities.