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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Spring 2010


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
40727 M
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
BUR 436A

Course Description

Course 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. Grading Policy 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. 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).


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