HIS 365G • Religion in America Since 1945
This new lecture course will be a survey of religion in America since the end of World War II. After a brief survey of religion in America in the first half of the twentieth century, it will analyze the religious dimensions of the Cold War, the fifties revival of evangelical religion associated with Billy Graham, and the religious elements of the Civil Rights Movement. It will then study the religious dimensions of the social revolutions of the Sixties and the reaction against them in the seventies and eighties. It will analyze the emergence of the Religious Right in the last quarter of the twentieth century and it will investigate the effect on American religion of the changes in America's immigration laws in 1965. It will study the simultaneous rise of the "culture wars," the weakening of the traditional denominational patterns of American religion and the emergence for the first time in American history of a truly heterogeneous religious culture as millions of people immigrate to the United States who have no connection to the Judeo-Christian tradition that had dominated American culture until the late twentieth century. The course will conclude at the present, when American religion has become as controversial and as contested as it has in a great long time. The course will be a multi-media course and will use art, literature and, especially, music and film.
There will be two hour examinations, which will each count 25% of the course grade. A comprehensive final examination will constitute the other half of the course grade.
Readings will be selected from among the following and other works: Patrick Allitt, Religion in America Since 1945 Amanda Porterfield, The Transformation of American Religion Robert Wuthnow, The Restructuring of American Religion Diana Eck, A New Religious America Robert Bellah, et al., Habits of the Heart.