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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Jerod T Patterson

Ph.D. (ABD), University of Texas; M.A. University of Texas; M.Div., Wake Forest University

GOV 312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

38725 • Fall 2014
Meets MWF 900am-1000am MEZ B0.306
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Instructor: Jerod Patterson

 

Topic: Religion and Politics in the United States   Course Description: Throughout American history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course explores the relationship between religion and politics in the United States, focusing especially on the ways in which religion has been a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has and continues to shape political life in the United States. The course will address several relevant topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.   The course is divided into three major sections. The first section, “foundations,” provides an introduction and historical context for our study of religion and politics in the United States. The second section, “developments,” explores important milestones in the evolving relationship between religion and politics, including the challenges of new science and learning, immigration, and social movements throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The final section, “controversies,” directs our attention to some key contemporary debates involving religion and politics.   Each class is accompanied by a set of readings. Several classes also include recommended readings, most of which are primary sources. These are not required but nonetheless highly commended. In order to participate in class and make the most of this learning experience, you are expected to read prior to attending class. Our course texts are Frank Lambert’s Religion in American Politics (2010), Kenneth Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown’s Religion and Politics in the United States, Seventh Edition (2014), and a brief dialogue between James Davison Hunter and Alan Wolfe entitled, Is There a Culture War? (2006). Some readings are drawn from a course packet available at Jenn’s Copies. Course assignments consist of two non-cumulative midterm exams, a cumulative final exam, and five attendance quizzes. Class attendance is required and will contribute to your final grade.     Assignments and Grading: Your assessment in this course will come in the form of exams and attendance quizzes. See syllabus for details.

GOV S312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

85165 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am MEZ 1.306
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Course Description  

Throughout our nation’s history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course surveys the relationship between religion and politics in the United States and explores the ways in which religion has served as a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has shaped American politics and society. The course is comprised of three sections. During the first, “Foundations,” we will focus our attention of the basics of the relationship between religion and politics in the United States over time. During the second, “Developments,” we look at how social and political change has affected religion and politics in America. Finally, in the final third of the course, titled “Controversies,” we turn our attention to particular points of conflict over the relationship between religion and politics. Throughout the course, we will examine several important topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social and political movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.    

Grading Policy:    

Grades are based on two midterm exams (25% each) and one final exam (30%). Attendance and participation account for 10% of the grade, and the final 10% comes from a two-to-three page reflection paper on the course.      

Texts:    

1. Frank Lambert, Religion in American Politics: A Short History, Princeton University Press, 2010.

2. Kenneth Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown, Religion and Politics in the United States, Sixth Edition, Roman and Littlefield, 2010.

3. James Davison Hunter and Alan Wolfe, Is There a Culture War? A Dialogue on Values and American Public Life, Brookings Institution Press, 2006.

4. A few additional readings will be drawn from various sources, including a brief course packet.

 

GOV 312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

38709 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 1200pm-100pm GAR 0.102
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Course Description:  

Throughout our nation’s history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course surveys the relationship between religion and politics in the United States and explores the ways in which religion has served as a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has shaped American politics and society. The course is comprised of three sections. During the first, “Foundations,” we will focus our attention of the basics of the relationship between religion and politics in the United States over time. During the second, “Developments,” we look at how social and political change has affected religion and politics in America. Finally, in the final third of the course, titled “Controversies,” we turn our attention to particular points of conflict over the relationship between religion and politics. Throughout the course, we will examine several important topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social and political movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.    

Grading Policy:  

Grades are based on two midterm exams (25% each) and one final exam (30%). Attendance and participation account for 10% of the grade, and the final 10% comes from a two-to-three page reflection paper on the course.    

Texts:  

1. Frank Lambert, Religion in American Politics: A Short History, Princeton University Press, 2010.

2. Kenneth Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown, Religion and Politics in the United States, Sixth Edition, Roman and Littlefield, 2010.

3. James Davison Hunter and Alan Wolfe, Is There a Culture War? A Dialogue on Values and American Public Life, Brookings Institution Press, 2006.

4. A few additional readings will be drawn from various sources, including a brief course packet.

GOV 312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

38600 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm WAG 214
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Course Description 

Throughout American history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course surveys the relationship between religion and politics in the United States and explores the ways in which religion has been a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has shaped American politics and society. After a brief overview of religion and politics in the United States, the course will address several important topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social and political movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.

GOV S312L • Issues & Policies In Amer Gov

85393 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 830am-1000am WEL 2.312
show description

Throughout American history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course surveys the relationship between religion and politics in the United States and explores the ways in which religion has been a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has shaped American politics and society. After a brief overview of religion and politics in the United States, the course will address several important topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social and political movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.

Teaching

GOV 312L Religion and Politics in the U.S. (University of Texas at Austin)

Throughout American history, religion has proven an influential and often controversial feature of American political life. This course explores the relationship between religion and politics in the United States, focusing especially on the ways in which religion has been a source of political division and unity. Its purpose is to help you better understand the many ways in which religion has and continues to shape political life in the United States. The course will address several relevant topics, including the role of religion in the American founding, separation of church and state, challenges brought about by immigration and America’s changing religious profile, the role of religion in social movements such as Civil Rights, religion’s influence on controversial policy debates, and more recent issues like the rise of the “Religious Right” and emergence of a “Religious Left” in contemporary politics.

The course is divided into three major sections. The first section, “foundations,” provides an introduction and historical context for our study of religion and politics in the United States. The second section, “developments,” explores important milestones in the evolving relationship between religion and politics, including the challenges of new science and learning, immigration, and social movements throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The final section, “controversies,” directs our attention to some key contemporary debates over religion and politics.

Each class is accompanied by a set of readings. Required readings average about 30 pages per class. Several classes also include recommended readings, most of which are primary sources. These are not required but nonetheless highly commended. In order to participate in class and make the most of this course, you are expected to read prior to attending class. Our course texts are Frank Lambert’s Religion in American Politics (2010), Kenneth Wald and Allison Calhoun-Brown’s Religion and Politics in the United States (2011), and a brief dialogue between James Davison Hunter and Alan Wolfe entitled, Is There a Culture War? (2006). Some readings are drawn from a course packet available at Jenn’s Copies. Course assignments consist of two non-cumulative midterm exams, a cumulative final exam, and a short essay. Class attendance is required and periodic attendance checks will contribute to your final grade.

H4313 Religion in American Public Life (Seminary of the Southwest, Austin, Texas)

This course explores the relationship between religion and public life in the United States, focusing especially on the ways in which religion has contributed to and been affected by American political institutions and public culture. Topics of special concern include religious liberty, conscience and dissent, religion and social movements (e.g., anti-slavery and civil rights), religion and public policy, church and state, civil religion, the culture war, religion in American elections, and religion and public reason. This exploration is guided by a diverse set of readings that include historical, social scientific, and theological perspectives, as well as several primary sources.

The course is divided into two sections. The first section, “historical context,” provides an introduction and historical setting for our study. The second, “contemporary conflicts,” directs attention to some key contemporary debates and controversies involving religion, politics, and public culture. Each class is accompanied by a set of readings. In order for this class to be a profitable experience, both individually and collectively, students are asked to read and consider these via a brief reflection paper before each class. Students will also take turns introducing and leading discussion on readings and topics throughout the course. In addition to this participatory involvement, student responsibilities also include a book review and term paper.

This course is designed so that each student may: (1) develop a critical understanding of the current and historical relationship between religion and American public life, (2) develop greater self-awareness as Christians to the ways in which our faith bears the imprint of American public culture and vice versa, and (3) consider the ways in which this relationship between religion and politics bears on the mission of the church, presenting both problems and opportunities

Teaching Philosophy

Most of the scholarship on how young adults learn emphasizes that one must not view students as “blank slates” waiting for us to write what we know into their minds. A better approach is to help them “bridge” what they already know—through prior classes, interests, and life experiences—and what we are trying to teach them. This is how students effectively categorize what we teach in order to build more sophisticated understandings. My teaching philosophy centers on finding ways to create those bridges. I do so by bringing the real world into the classroom and, where possible, the classroom into the real world. Not only does this make for an engaging learning environment, it also provides the opportunity for students to make connections between course concepts and that which is familiar to them. My ultimate goal as a teacher is not simply to help students achieve learning outcomes, but to draw connections between the learning process, their broader university experience, and their future vocational and professional lives.

Teaching Areas

Religion and politics, public policy, public opinion, campaigns and elections, civic participation

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