American Catholic History

This course provides an introduction to the historical experiences of Catholics in North America from the colonial period to the present. This course is not only an institutional history of the American Catholic Church, but also a study of popular manifestations of Catholicism which tries to uncover the diverse experiences of American Catholics in different places and times throughout the history of the United States. We will use a variety of primary and secondary sources to achieve these goals, including traditional monographs, novels, memoirs, films, papal documents, correspondences, essays, speeches, poetry, political writings, sermons, advertisements, liturgies, and works of art. Over the course of the semester we will learn about the major developments, persons, institutions, and ideas that shaped the experiences of Catholics at different moments in American history. We will also learn how to listen to and understand the voices of people from the past and the present, perspectives that are embedded in historical artifacts and available to us in the person of Catholic adherents today.


This syllabus was created for the Young Scholars in American Religion program.

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