Course descriptions for my 2011 Summer semester classes
Proseminar: Issues and Themes in American Religion
American culture and life is deeply intertwined with religion, faith and spiritual seeking. It has been so throughout its history, despite the fact the country has no official religion, the public sphere is marked as secular, and its culture is pluralistic. This class will look at America’s vibrant and conflicted religious history through the study of beliefs and practices and an examination of historical developments, arguments and questions. This course is intended to give students an overview of American religious history and help them gain a working understanding of the fundamental dynamics of religious life and thought in America.
Übung: Religion and the Marketplace in America
American money bears the legend, “In God We Trust,” and its citizens overwhelmingly embrace that duality of God and money, identifying themselves as very religious and as firm believers in free markets. What is the relationship, though, between God and money? How do the very different spheres of religion and the marketplace interact, shaping or influencing each other? In this course, we will examine the complex relationship between religion and economics in America, looking at theoretical models and important new theories as they have been and can be applied to American culture and history. The seminar aims to prepare students for a fruitful participation in the Heidelberg conference on “Religion and the Marketplace in America” that will take place October 6-8, 2011 in the HCA.
Course readers will be provided at the beginning of the semester.