Religion in 20th century American life

History 103D(R.007

Fall 2005
Instructor (text): 
2227 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Fri 12-2
Note optional research component added!

Drawing upon a mixture of primary and secondary sources, this seminar will consider the place of religion in 20th century American life. The seminar will move chronologically, but will center thematically on the problem of secularization, particularly among intellectuals; increased religious diversity twinned with the continued assertion of America's identity as a Christian nation; and the rise of the religious right. Episodes to be considered include the 19th-century inheritance, the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the 1920's, the rise of neo-orthodox theology, the development of religious conservatism, the Cold War and Christianity, the post-1965 growth in nontraditional and non-Western religions, and the intersections between gender, politics and religion. Course requirements include active participation, two short papers (5pp.), and a longer research paper (10-15pp). This class is also being offered as an optional research seminar (103R). Students who chose this option will complete a number of library research assignments in place of the two short papers, and will also write the final research paper. Because assigned books may not be available in campus bookstores by the beginning of the semester, students are advised that the following books will be used in the first three weeks: Roger Finke and Rodney Starke, The Churching of America (please bring to first class meeting), Edward Larson, Summer for the Gods, Reinhold Niebuhr, The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness. All of these texts may be ordered on-line at or Students should also have a copy of the Bible handy for easy reference throughout the semester.