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Martha G. Newman, Chair BUR 529, Mailcode A3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-7737

Chad Seales

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

Assistant Professor
Chad Seales

Contact

  • Phone: 512-232-5929
  • Office: BUR 516
  • Office Hours: (Fall 2013) T & Th 1pm-2pm
  • Campus Mail Code: A3700

Biography

Chad Seales is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. He taught at New College of Florida in Sarasota and George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia before arriving at The University of Texas at Austin. He earned a B.A from the University of Florida, an M.T.S. from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research addresses the relationship between religion and culture in American life, as evident in the social expressions of southern evangelicals, the popular religious practices of Latino migrants, and the moral prescriptions of corporate managers and business leaders. He is the author of The Secular Spectacle: Performing Religion in a Southern Town (Oxford University Press, November 2013), and has published articles on industrial religion, corporate chaplaincy, and the religious politics of U2's Bono.  

Interests

Religion in North America | evangelicalism | secularism | corporatism | industrialization | race and ethnicity | theory and method in the study of religion

R S 346 • Evangelical Christianity

44180 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm BUR 130
(also listed as AMS 327 )
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%

 

R S 392T • Capitalism And Religion

44360 • Fall 2014
Meets TH 200pm-500pm UTC 4.114
(also listed as AMS 391, HIS 383M )
show description

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.

R S F346 • Religion And Film

87125 • Summer 2014
Meets MTWTHF 1000am-1130am CLA 0.106
(also listed as AMS F321 )
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. 

R S 310 • Intro To The Study Of Religion

44495 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 1100am-1230pm ECJ 1.204
show description

This course offers a thematic introduction to the study of religion by focusing on narrative, ritual, and artifact at Christian, Buddhist, and Muslim pilgrimage sites. Using one Latino Catholic pilgrimage site in New Mexico to orient our opening discussion, the course begins by thinking about the meaning of key terms— including religion, shrine, and pilgrimage. To get our bearings and map the field, we consider some leading theories of pilgrimage and influential ways of studying it. Then we turn to Japan and analyze one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites there. We next shift our focus to Islam and Mecca, including Malcolm X’s account of his journey to the holiest Muslim site. Finally, we focus on a Christian site, a Cuban American shrine in Miami dedicated to Our Lady of Charity. The course meets the criteria for the Cultural Diversity in the U.S. flag because a bit more than one third of the course deals with an underrepresented cultural group in the U.S.—Latinos. It also meets the standard for the Global Cultures flag because more than half, and almost two thirds, of the course material deals with cultures of non-U.S. communities—Buddhists in Japan and Muslims in the Middle East.

 

Texts:

Michael Wolfe, ed., One Thousand Roads to Mecca (Grove Press, 1997);
homas A. Tweed, Our Lady of the Exile: Diasporic Religion at a Cuban Catholic Shrine in Miami (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)
Ian Reader, Making Pilgrimages: Meaning and Practice in Shikoku (University of Hawaii Press, 2006).

 

Grading:

1) Intellectual Journal (20%)- a journal of up to 20 entries that includes analysis of the assigned readings on Latino Catholics, Japanese Buddhists, and Middle Eastern Muslims; 2) Midterm Exam I and Midterm Exam II (25% each): One exam focuses on Latinos in the U.S. The other exam focuses on Muslims in the Middle East; 3) Cummulative Final Exam (25%): About half of the final exam focuses on Buddhists in Japan and the rest concerns material from throughout the course; 4) Class Participation (5%)

R S 346 • Evangelical Christianity

44215 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm BUR 130
(also listed as AMS 327 )
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.

R S 383M • Thry & Meth In Study Of Relig

44360 • Fall 2013
Meets T 330pm-630pm BUR 436A
show description

This seminar introduces graduate students to the critical analysis of a conceptual category: religion.  It surveys a historical range of theories and methods in the study of religion (from the nineteenth century to the present), using them to mark the disciplinary territories of Religious Studies.  We seek not to define religion, but to understand how religion has been defined.  We ask not what religion is but how religion has been made: who has made it, for what purposes did they make it, and against whom or what did they distinguish it as modern?  The methodological tools by which religions have been manufactured are multiple—anthropological, psychological, historical, phenomenological, sociological.  And the theoretical others against which (and in relation to) religions have been defined are many—indigenous, primitive, industrial, profane, secular.  Over the course of the semester, we will take several entry points into this disciplinary conversation, comparing classical approaches, like those of James Frazer, Sigmund Freud, Max Müller, Mircea Eliade, and Emile Durkheim, to appropriations of those approaches by scholars such as Paul C. Johnson, Harvey Whitehouse, David Chidester, Catherine Bell, and Mary Douglas.

R S 346 • Religion And Film

43890 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WEL 4.224
(also listed as AMS 321 )
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%

R S 346 • Evangelical Christianity

43705 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WEL 4.224
(also listed as AMS 327 )
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%

 

R S 392T • Capitalism And Religion

43691 • Fall 2011
Meets TH 330pm-630pm BUR 436A
show description

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. Possible 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.

Requirements

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

 

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