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

Jennifer Graber

Ph.D., Duke University

Associate Professor
Jennifer Graber

Contact

  • Phone: (512) 471-8634
  • Office: BUR 528
  • Office Hours: Professor Graber is on research leave for the Fall 2013 semester.
  • Campus Mail Code: A3700

Biography

Professor Graber works on religion and violence and inter-religious encounters in American prisons and on the American frontier. Her first book, The Furnace of Affliction: Prisons and Religion in Antebellum America, explores the intersection of church and state during the founding of the nation's first prisons. Her current project focuses on religious transformations in Indian and settler communities in a part of Indian Territory over the course of the nineteenth century. She explores religious change among Kiowa Indians and the Anglo-American communities who settled among them in what is now southwest Oklahoma. Professor Graber teaches undergraduate classes on the history of religion in the United States and on Native American religions. She teaches graduate seminars on religion and violence and approaches to the study of religion in the U.S.

R S 346 • Religion In The American West

44185 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm BUR 436A
(also listed as AMS 327 )
show description

The history of the American West includes the stories of American Indians, Anglo-American and African American settlers, as well as immigrants from Asia and Latin America. These diverse communities have brought an array of religious traditions and practices to the area and to their contacts with each other. The region has also played a key role in the development of several religious movements, including Mormonism and Pentecostalism. Focused on inter-religious contact and the connections between religion, race, and, gender, the class surveys religion in the American West from the pre-colonial period through the present. 

 

Texts: 

Maffly-Kipp, Laurie. Religion and Society in Frontier California.

Sutton, Matthew Avery. Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America. 

Wenger, Tisa. We Have a Religion: The 1920s Pueblo Indian Dance Controversy and American Religious Freedom

 

Grading:

Papers – 40%

Exams – 30%

Participation – 10%

Final project – 20%

R S 346D • Native American Religion

44190 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am BUR 220
(also listed as AMS 327 )
show description

Before European colonization, the North American continent featured myriad Indian nations practicing many different religious traditions and ceremonies. In this course, we will examine the religious traditions of several American Indian groups: the Pueblos of the American Southwest, the Wendats of the eastern Woodlands, and the Lakotas of the Plains. We will look at the myths and rituals that composed these nations’ religious identities. We will then examine the ways that contact with Europeans affected their religious beliefs and practices. In turn, we will study how Native American communities have transformed old practices and fashioned new ones since those initial contacts. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to see the diversity among American Indian groups and the way in which religious ideas and practices serve living, changing communities of people. 

 

Readings may include:

Marmon Silko, Ceremony

Martin, The Land Looks After Us: A History of Native American Religion

Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks

Seeman, The Huron-Wendat Feast of the Dead

 

Grading

Papers – 40%

Exams – 30%

Participation – 10%

Final project – 20%

R S 316U • History Of Religion In The Us

44510 • Spring 2014
Meets MWF 900am-1000am CLA 0.128
(also listed as AMS 315, HIS 317L )
show description

Description:

This class explores how religious people and communities in the United States affirm their worldviews, understand the ethical life, engage in ritual acts, and organize their communal relations. It also looks at the way the American social environment has shaped these practitioners and their communities. In particular, this class explores an ongoing tension: the dominance achieved by majority religious groups and the religious diversity that marks the population and is protected by law. We will observe how this particularly American dynamic shapes religious communities. We will explore this tension through a historically organized survey of majority and minority religious groups. We begin with the continent’s original diversity in its hundreds of Native American traditions. We then move to dominant varieties of Protestant Christianity in relation to smaller groups, including colonial-era Jews, upstart Mormons, newly immigrated Catholics, African-American believers, and more recently arrived immigrants who practice Hinduism and Islam. While the class cannot cover the entire history of religion in United States history, it offers students greater historical understanding and tools for analyzing the ongoing dynamics of religious dominance and religious diversity in this country.

 

Texts:

Daniel K. Richter, “War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience, ” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Oct., 1983), 528-559.

Jonathan Sarna, “Colonial Beginnings” from American Judaism: A History

James Homer Williams, “An Atlantic Perspective on the Jewish Struggle for Rights and Opportunities in Brazil, New Netherland, and New York,” from The Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West.

S. Scott Rohrer, “An American Exodus: Mormons and the Westward Trek,” from Wandering Souls: Protestant Migrations in America, 1630-1865

 Paul Harvey, “Day of Jubilee: Black Churches from Emancipation to the Era of Jim Crow,” from Through the Storm, Through the Night: A History of African American Christianity

Sylvester Johnson, “The Rise of Black Ethnics: The Ethnic Turn in African American Religions,” from Religion and American Culture, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Summer 2010), 125-163

Vasudha Narayanan, “Hinduism in Pittsburgh: Creating the South Indian ‘Hindu’ Experience in the United States,” from The Life of Hinduism

Susan Slyomovics, “The Muslim World Day Parade and ‘Storefront’ Mosques of New York City,” from Making Muslim Space in North America and Europe

 

Grading

4 short exams (15% each for 60%)

short paper (10%)

mapping assignment (10%)

final short essay (20%)

R S 391N • Appro To Study Of Relig In Us

44695 • Spring 2014
Meets W 200pm-500pm NOA 1.110
show description

This graduate seminar introduces students to the study of religion in the Americas. In the course’s first section, we consider classic approaches to the study of U.S. religion and religion in Latin America and the Caribbean. After that orientation to the scholarship, the second section begins to move toward approaches that reframe the study of religion in terms of the Atlantic World, the Pacific World, and the Hemisphere. We start by exploring some theoretical and methodological perspectives that might help as we try to extend the chronological span and expand the geographical reach of our narratives—and as we emphasize transcultural and comparative analysis. Focusing on recent historical and ethnographic case studies that model those approaches, we focus, in turn, on the Atlantic World, the Pacific World, and the Hemisphere. Along the way, we consider a wide range of peoples, practices, and places—from pre-contact Asian migrations to the Americas and fourteenth-century encounters in the Canary Islands to recent Afro-Caribbean migrant piety in the Bronx and Zen Buddhist practice in contemporary Brazil. The course opens by asking about how we might expand the chronological and geographical scope of narratives and it ends with students’ attempts to move toward new perspectives by designing pedagogically useful syllabi and presenting methodologically suggestive case studies.

 

Texts

Assigned reading will include: Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra and Erik R. Seeman, eds.,The Atlantic in Global History, 1500-2000 (Prentice Hall, 2007). Anna L. Peterson and Manuel A. Vásquez, eds., Latin American Religions: Histories and Documents in Context (NYU Press, 2008). Allan Greer and Jodi Blinkoff, eds., Colonial Saints: Discovering the Holy in the Americas (Routledge, 2003). Thomas A. Tweed, Crossing and Dwelling: A Theory of Religion (Harvard University Press, 2006). Thomas A. Tweed, ed., Retelling U.S. Religious History (University of California Press, 1997). Jon F. Sensback, Rebecca’s Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World (Harvard UP, 2005). R. Marie Griffith, ed., American Religions: A Documentary History (Oxford UP, 2008). Cristina Rocha, Zen in Brazil: The Quest for Cosmopolitan Modernity (University of Hawaii, 2006). Carolyn Chen, Getting Saved in America: Taiwanese Immigration and Religious Experience (Princeton University Press, 2008). David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish (Wilely Blackwell, 2008).  Paul Christopher Johnson, Diaspora Conversions: Black Carib Religion and the Recovery of Africa (University of California Press, 2007).

 

Grading

Assessment will be based on the following: 1) Five two-page book reviews (500 words). 2) A Final Project, which will be either (a) a ten -to twelve-page essay that uses a methodologically suggestive case study in the student’s area of research to explore one issue concerning approaches to the study in the Americas; or, (b) students may create and defend (in a five-page document) a syllabus on Religion in the Americas. 3) Serve as discussion facilitator for one class session. That will mean opening the class with a ten-minute introduction to the readings and issues for that day. 4) Oral Presentation of Final Project: students will give a brief presentation about their Final Project (either the methodologically suggestive case study or the syllabus on Religion in the Americas) on the last day of class. 5) Regular, informed class participation.

R S 316U • History Of Religion In The Us

43840 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 800am-900am CLA 0.128
(also listed as AMS 315, HIS 317L )
show description

Description:

This class explores how religious people and communities in the United States affirm their worldviews, understand the ethical life, engage in ritual acts, and organize their communal relations. It also looks at the way the American social environment has shaped these practitioners and their communities. In particular, this class explores an ongoing tension: the dominance achieved by majority religious groups and the religious diversity that marks the population and is protected by law. We will observe how this particularly American dynamic shapes religious communities. We will explore this tension through a historically organized survey of majority and minority religious groups. We begin with the continent’s original diversity in its hundreds of Native American traditions. We then move to dominant varieties of Protestant Christianity in relation to smaller groups, including colonial-era Jews, upstart Mormons, newly immigrated Catholics, African-American believers, and more recently arrived immigrants who practice Hinduism and Islam. While the class cannot cover the entire history of religion in United States history, it offers students greater historical understanding and tools for analyzing the ongoing dynamics of religious dominance and religious diversity in this country.

 

Texts:

Daniel K. Richter, “War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience, ” The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Oct., 1983), 528-559.

Jonathan Sarna, “Colonial Beginnings” from American Judaism: A History

James Homer Williams, “An Atlantic Perspective on the Jewish Struggle for Rights and Opportunities in Brazil, New Netherland, and New York,” from The Jews and the Expansion of Europe to the West.

S. Scott Rohrer, “An American Exodus: Mormons and the Westward Trek,” from Wandering Souls: Protestant Migrations in America, 1630-1865

 Paul Harvey, “Day of Jubilee: Black Churches from Emancipation to the Era of Jim Crow,” from Through the Storm, Through the Night: A History of African American Christianity

Sylvester Johnson, “The Rise of Black Ethnics: The Ethnic Turn in African American Religions,” from Religion and American Culture, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Summer 2010), 125-163

Vasudha Narayanan, “Hinduism in Pittsburgh: Creating the South Indian ‘Hindu’ Experience in the United States,” from The Life of Hinduism

Susan Slyomovics, “The Muslim World Day Parade and ‘Storefront’ Mosques of New York City,” from Making Muslim Space in North America and Europe

 

Grading

4 short exams (15% each for 60%)

short paper (10%)

mapping assignment (10%)

final short essay (20%)

R S 346 • Native American Religion

43885 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am ENS 109
(also listed as AMS 327 )
show description

Course description:

In this course, we will examine the religious traditions of several American Indians groups: the Pueblos of the American Southwest, various groups who inhabited the eastern Woodlands, the Lakotas of the Northern Plains, and several groups which have inhabited the place we now call Texas. We will look at the myths and rituals that composed these Indian nations’ religious identities. We will then examine the way in which contact with Europeans affected their religious beliefs and practices. In turn, we will study the way in which American Indian communities transformed old practices and fashioned new ones since those initial contacts. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to see the diversity among American Indian groups and the way in which religious ideas and practices serve living, changing communities of people. 

All of the class readings relate to American Indian history, culture, and religion. A selection includes:

 

Richard Erdoes, American Indian Myths and Legends

Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

Joel Martin, The Land Looks After Us: A History of Native American Religion

John Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks

Eric Seeman, The Huron-Wendat Feast of the Dead

 

Grading

4 papers (25% each)

R S 392T • Religion/Violence In Americas

43845 • Fall 2012
Meets TH 200pm-500pm BUR 436A
(also listed as AMS 391 )
show description

In this graduate seminar, we will consider the intersection of religion and violence in United States history, including but not limited to episodes of “religious violence” and “violent religion.” We will begin with a survey of the scholarship on religion and violence, including groundbreaking works on Jonestown and September 11. We will then consider scholarship focused on several themes, including religion and sanctioned violence, new religious movements, and personal religious experience. Because United States history is a story of global contacts, we will also include considerations of religion and violence in the colonial era and more recent political developments throughout North and South America.

BOOKS 

The State of the Field

Salvation and Suicide: An Interpretation of Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and Jonestown (first ed., 1991), David Chidester, Indiana University Press; Revised edition (October 16, 2003), ISBN-10: 025321632X, ISBN-13: 978-0253216328

Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence, Third Edition, Completely Revised (2003), Mark Juergensmeyer, University of California, Paperback, ISBN: 9780520240117

The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict (2009), William T Cavanaugh, Oxford University Press, ISBN13: 9780195385045ISBN10: 0195385047

From Jeremiad to Jihad: Religion, Violence, and America (2012), John D. Carlson (Editor), Jonathan H. Ebel (Editor), University of California, Paperback, ISBN: 9780520271661

Religion and Sanctioned Violence (ie. war) in North America

Bonfires of Culture: Franciscans, Indigenous Leaders, and the Inquisition in Early Mexico, 1524-1540, Patricia Lopes Don, University of Oklahoma Press (2010), ISBN-10: 0806140496, ISBN-13: 978-0806140490

The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American IdentityJill Lepore, Vintage (1999), ISBN-10: 0375702628, ISBN-13: 978-0375702624

Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil WarHarry S. Stout, Penguin (2007), ISBN-10: 0143038761

Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American DemocracyJoseph Kosek, Columbia University Press (2009), ISBN-10: 0231144180, ISBN-13: 978-0231144186

Violence and New Religious Movements

The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum SouthPatrick Mason, Oxford University Press, USA (2011), ISBN-10: 019974002X, ISBN-13: 978-0199740024

How the Millennium Comes Violently: From Jonestown to Heaven's GateCatherine Wessinger, Seven Bridges Pr Llc (2000), ISBN-10: 1889119245, ISBN-13: 978-1889119243

Violence and Personal Religious Experience

Religion of Fear: The Politics of Horror in Conservative EvangelicalismJason C. Bivins, Oxford University Press (2008), ISBN-10: 0195340817, ISBN-13: 978-0195340815

Devoted to Death: Santa Muerte, the Skeleton SaintR. Andrew Chesnut, Oxford University Press (2012), ISBN-10: 0199764654, ISBN-13: 978-0199764655

Moving Outside United States Boundaries

Terror in the Land of the Holy Spirit: Guatemala under General Efrain Rios Montt 1982-1983Virginia Garrard-Burnett, Oxford University Press (2011), ISBN-10: 0199844771, ISBN-13: 978-0199844777

City of God: Christian Citizenship in Postwar GuatemalaKevin O'Neill, University of California Press (2009), ISBN-10: 0520260635, ISBN-13: 978-0520260634

 

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