2 x 50-minute lectures weekly
1 x 50-minute tutorial weekly
Enrolment not permitted
1 of AMST3012, AMST3014 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
As a third-level topic in the American Studies major sequence, this topic assumes a familiarity with the kind of knowledge, conceptual understanding and skills that would normally be acquired by the completion of at last 9 units of second-level topics from the American Studies or History major sequence.
Course context
Associated majors: American Studies; International Relations; History
Topic description
From the landing of the Pilgrims to the influence by the Christian Right in contemporary politics, religion has always been a central part of American identity. This topic will examine the role that faith has played at key moments in the history of the United States from the seventeenth to the twentieth century. It will look at the way that religious beliefs have moved people to action and the part that faith has played in various social movements. It will explore the way that religion has overlapped with politics and the various ways that religion has been understood across the political spectrum. It will also investigate historical moments where concerns about faith and religion have come to the fore.
Educational aims
This topic aims to:
  1. Examine the place of religion and faith in the United States, focusing on important churches, denominations, and leaders.
  2. Consider the role that religion has played at key moments in American history.
  3. Consider thebroad sweep of American history and introduce students to different ways of understanding historical change.
  4. Critically assess the way that religion has been understood by progressives and conservatives and how faith has shaped social activism and politics.
  5. Foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation that encourages students to develop independent and critical thinking and as collaborative learners.
  6. Further enhance students' ability to assess and evaluate different types of sources.
  7. Consolidate students' written and communication skills.
Expected learning outcomes
Students successfully completing the topic should be able to:
  1. Identify the different ways that organized religion and personal belief have shaped the development of the United States.
  2. Understand the different ways that religion has intersected with American politics and culture over time.
  3. Critically analyse and assess a range of sources relevant to the topic and engage in independent research.
  4. Be able to work both collaboratively and independently and demonstrate awareness of ethical issues relevant to academic research.
  5. Apply their knowledge in a range of situations.
  6. Communicate effectively by constructing and developing a coherent argument in written assessment.