Spring 2013 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Is the United States a Christian nation? Americans have asked a version of this question throughout their history; it informs nearly all discussions about the relationship between church and state in the United States. This graduate-level course will explore attempts by a variety of Americans to answer this question. The relationship between church and state in America is first and foremost a subject of constitutional and legal history, but it also encompasses the histories of cultural change, social movements, and political power. As such, this course will focus on scholarship that broadly defines the history of church and state in America as a history of the relationship between religion and public life.
Topics will include, among others, the decline of religious establishments, the history of religious tolerance and intolerance, religious belief and social reform, and the origins of modern "Culture Wars" in the United States. This course will cover a period from the late 1700s through the 1940s: from adoption of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to the moment when the phrase "separation of church and state" entered American legal and cultural discourse.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria: