American Religions: In Search of the Promised Land

Religious communities and inspired individuals have through time discovered in America a seemingly ideal place to pursue their hopeful visions of purity, truth, and salvation. We will explore in this course the vibrant, contentious, and unfinished story of this ongoing search for the Promised Land. Together, we will examine the mutual influences of religion and American culture through studies of diverse religious communities with a particular emphasis on the intersection between religion and place. Specific issues for consideration include concepts of home and sacred space, religious dimensions of the conquest of America, religion and nature, the faith and practices of exile communities, and the influence of border culture on religion. Students will also participate in an ongoing project mapping Omaha religious landscapes. The project involves site visits, interviews, research in local historical material, and the use of advanced GPS and GIS technology.


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

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