Classes

African American Religions: An Introduction

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The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the religious practices, beliefs, and movements of African Americans from 17th century to present. Topics include, but not limited to, black religions in North America under slavery, black churches, black Muslims, Jews and conjuring traditions, the civil rights movement, and the relation of African American religion to the arts. We will read a range of primary and secondary texts. Readings will include Albert Raboteau, Michael Gomez, Evelyn Brooks-Higginbotham,...

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Martin, Malcolm, & Masculinity

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The Civil Rights and Black Power movements (narrowly defined) were principally struggles for racial equality and economic justice. The public ministries of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X have come to signify these movements respectively and have remained at the center of debates concerning competing trajectories of response. But though prevailing views often portray the philosophies of Malcolm and Martin as incommensurate, their philosophical and theological commitments led them to a similar place of aligning with the poor and oppressed on a global scale. This is not their only...

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Power and Piety: Evangelicals and Politics in the Contemporary U.S.

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This course examines the history, beliefs, practices and aesthetics of evangelical Christians in the United States, paying particular attention to the relationship between evangelical theology and national politics since the American Civil War. Topics covered will include: the development of the Social Gospel; the Niebuhr Brothers and neo-orthodox theology; women's suffrage and Civil Rights; the "Southern Strategy" and the rise of the so-called Religious Right; as well as Christian Reconstructionism.

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The Prophetic Pulpit: Preacher as Public Intellectual

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The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the intellectual tradition of Protestant preaching as both spiritual witness and prophetic resistance in the United States. The ultimate aim of this course is threefold: 1.) Clarify the role of the public intellectual within the prophetic tradition, 2.) Identify opportunities and limitations of the preacher as public intellectual due to factors such as gender/class and racial hierarchies, 3.) Encourage students to craft sermons that are biblically based, exegetically sound, and that can address the cultural and political...

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Pentecost & Prosperity: The Ethics of Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements

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Pentecostal-Charismatic movements represent the fastest growing segments of global Christianity. The aim of this lecture course is to trace the historical and ethical formations of such movements in several global contexts, including, but not limited to, the United States, Latin America, West Africa, and South Korea. We will pay particular attention to rationales for conversion and commitment, perceived social and/or political capital that believers accrue, as well as a theological basis for a "prosperity lifestyle" and consumerist ethic.

Beyond Peasants and Proletariats: Black Religions and the Social Sciences in the 20th Century

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This course will introduce students to the leading "schools" of social scientific thought throughout the first half of the twentieth century in regards to religion, race and ethnicity. Major topics to be addressed include anthropological and sociological approaches that led to Africanisms, cultural relativism and particularism on the one hand, versus universalism, acculturation, and assimilation on the other. Beyond evaluating the works of leading proponents of aforementioned approaches, students will also engage social context, political motivations, and economic influences that...

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