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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Chad Seales

Affiliate Faculty Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Assistant Professor

AMS 327 • Evangelical Christianity

30975 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BUR 130
(also listed as R S 346 )
show description

This course is an introduction to the intellectual and social sources of evangelical Protestant traditions in the United States. It examines varieties of evangelical beliefs and practices. In the first section of the course, we address the self-professed ethical struggle of evangelicals to be in but not of the world.  We historically contextualize that struggle, tracing its more recent expressions back to the categorical rupture between sacred “selves” and profane “society” that was at the heart of the Protestant Reformation.  In our second section of readings, we study how evangelicals continually work out this ethical tension in their everyday lives.  Surveying a range of themes, including science, sexuality, politics, and environmentalism, we examine how evangelicals have defined themselves in opposition to secular society but also have engaged the secular in an effort to convert souls, manage personal behavior, and transform American society in their image of Christian community. By the end of this course, students should be able to defensibly define “who is an American evangelical.”  They should be able to construct a broad historical narrative of nineteenth and twentieth century American evangelicalism.  And they should be able to use this narrative to evaluate evangelical encounters in the twenty-first century with at least one sub-type of American culture listed on the syllabus.

 

Texts:

Mark Noll, American Evangelical Christianity: An Introduction (2001).

 

Additional readings posted on Blackboard.

 

Grading:

Attendance/Participation 15%

Reading Response Journal 25%

Short Essays 25%

Final Essay 35%

 

AMS 391 • Capitalism And Religion

31065 • Fall 2014
Meets TH 200pm-500pm UTC 4.114
(also listed as HIS 383M, R S 392T )
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This course examines the reciprocal relationship between religion and capitalism, using case studies of industrial development in Western Europe and the United States, colonial encounters in Africa and the Americas, American advertising and consumer holidays, and spiritual consumption in the age of globalization.  Engaging sociological, anthropological, and historical approaches, it emphasizes the pervasive influence of Protestant Christianity on the development of western capitalism.  Key themes addressed include ascetic discipline and romantic desire, religious and economic sacrifice, moral and monetary conversion, gift giving, and religious mediation of economic meaning.

 

Grading

Book reviews 30%Facilitate discussion 10%Final essay 60%

 

Texts

Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (New York: Routledge, 1987 [1905]).Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies (New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000).E. P Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (Vintage Books, 1966).Paul E Johnson, A Shopkeeper's Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978). Kathryn Burns, Colonial Habits: Convents and the Spiritual Economy of Cuzco, Peru (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1999).Webb Keane, Christian Moderns: Freedom and Fetish in the Mission Encounter (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).Jackson T. J. Lears, Fables of Abundance: A Cultural History of Advertising in America (New York: Basic Books, 1995).Leigh Eric Schmidt, Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995).Bethany Moreton, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 2009).Kathryn Lofton, Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2011)Supplementary readings posted on Blackboard.

AMS F321 • Religion And Film

81465 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am CLA 0.106
(also listed as R S F346 )
show description

This course surveys representations of religious beliefs, practices, persons, and institutions in popular film.  Focusing on the media consumption of box office movies in the United States, we will examine how religion is imagined in film and how that religious imagination relates to social constructions of national, ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual identities.  Although we will briefly address some of the technical aspects of film production, our primary concern will be to interpret the ways in which films portray religion against the backdrop of American history. We will use the vehicle of the silver screen to reflect on how a shared religious imagination has shaped the way we understand ourselves as Americans.  By the end of this course, students should be able to think, discuss, and write critically about film from a religious studies perspective.  Students should be able to identify a range of religious traditions as depicted in film, compare and contrast those depictions, and situate them within a larger narrative of American religious history. 

AMS 327 • Evangelical Christianity

30830 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BUR 130
(also listed as R S 346 )
show description

This course is an introduction to the intellectual and social sources of evangelical Protestant traditions in the United States. It examines varieties of evangelical beliefs and practices. In the first section of the course, we address the self-professed ethical struggle of evangelicals to be in but not of the world.  We historically contextualize that struggle, tracing its more recent expressions back to the categorical rupture between sacred “selves” and profane “society” that was at the heart of the Protestant Reformation.  In our second section of readings, we study how evangelicals continually work out this ethical tension in their everyday lives.  Surveying a range of themes, including science, sexuality, politics, and environmentalism, we examine how evangelicals have defined themselves in opposition to secular society but also have engaged the secular in an effort to convert souls, manage personal behavior, and transform American society in their image of Christian community. By the end of this course, students should be able to defensibly define “who is an American evangelical.”  They should be able to construct a broad historical narrative of nineteenth and twentieth century American evangelicalism.  And they should be able to use this narrative to evaluate evangelical encounters in the twenty-first century with at least one sub-type of American culture listed on the syllabus.

 

Grading:

Attendance/Participation 15%Reading Response Journal 25%Short Essays 25%Final Essay 35%

 

Texts:

Mark Noll, American Evangelical Christianity: An Introduction (2001).Additional readings posted on Blackboard.

AMS 321 • Religion And Film

30745 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WEL 4.224
(also listed as R S 346 )
show description

This course surveys representations of religious beliefs, practices, persons, and institutions in popular film.  Focusing on the media consumption of box office movies in the United States, we will examine how religion is imagined in film and how that religious imagination relates to social constructions of national, ethnic, racial, gender, and sexual identities.  Although we will briefly address some of the technical aspects of film production, our primary concern will be to interpret the ways in which films portray religion against the backdrop of American history. We will use the vehicle of the silver screen to reflect on how a shared religious imagination has shaped the way we understand ourselves as Americans.  By the end of this course, students should be able to think, discuss, and write critically about film from a religious studies perspective.  Students should be able to identify a range of religious traditions as depicted in film, compare and contrast those depictions, and situate them within a larger narrative of American religious history. 

 

Texts

Films on Reserve.Readings posted on Blackboard

 

Grading

Attendance/Participation 15%Reading Response Journal 25%Short Essays 25%Final Essay 35%

AMS 327 • Evangelical Christianity

30825 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WEL 4.224
(also listed as R S 346 )
show description

This course is an introduction to the intellectual and social sources of evangelical Protestant traditions in the United States. It examines varieties of evangelical beliefs and practices. In the first section of the course, we address the self-professed ethical struggle of evangelicals to be in but not of the world.  We historically contextualize that struggle, tracing its more recent expressions back to the categorical rupture between sacred “selves” and profane “society” that was at the heart of the Protestant Reformation.  In our second section of readings, we study how evangelicals continually work out this ethical tension in their everyday lives.  Surveying a range of themes, including science, sexuality, politics, and environmentalism, we examine how evangelicals have defined themselves in opposition to secular society but also have engaged the secular in an effort to convert souls, manage personal behavior, and transform American society in their image of Christian community. By the end of this course, students should be able to defensibly define “who is an American evangelical.”  They should be able to construct a broad historical narrative of nineteenth and twentieth century American evangelicalism.  And they should be able to use this narrative to evaluate evangelical encounters in the twenty-first century with at least one sub-type of American culture listed on the syllabus.

 

Texts

Mark Noll, American Evangelical Christianity: An Introduction (2001).Additional readings posted on Blackboard.

Grading

Attendance/Participation 15%Reading Response Journal 25%Short Essays 25%Final Essay 35%

 

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