Schoolgirls wearing Islamic head-coverings and carrying small American flags.
A Sikh college student wearing a turban as she looks at her smart phone.
A confrontation between an older man and two teens at an anti-mosque protest.
An urban mural depicting the Virgin of Guadalupe and a sacred hummingbird.
A polygamous family; a man wearing a suit surrounded by women in pastel prairie dresses.
Charismatic Christians laying hands on president-elect Donald Trump as they pray for him.


An African American youth choir in red robes singing an at NAACP meeting.
A diverse line of people, young and old, Native and non-Native, praying behind a leader in ceremonial Native dress.

Thematic Sequence: REL 1

Religion in American Life

Acquaints you with fundamental themes in the development of American religious diversity, and with the impact of religion on American culture.

Level 1

REL 101 - Introduction to the Study of Religion   Fall 2019

Introduces you to the study of religion as a dimension of human culture. Each professor who teaches this course builds their sections around a thematic and methodological framework that reflects their area of expertise.

Topics offered in Fall 2019:

  • Section A or B: Empire and American Religion
  • Section C: Religious Extremism
  • Section D or F: Religion and Globalization
  • Section E: Bush, al-Qa'ida, and Religion
  • Section J: Utopia, Illusion, and Power
  • Section UA or UB: The Power of Religion (sprint course, online)
  • Section 101H A: Religion and Sexuality (honors section)
  • Section 101H B: Religious Extremism (honors section)

Level 2

One of the following courses:

AMS/REL 241 - Religions of the American Peoples

Provides an introductory survey of how diverse religious or spiritual traditions practiced in the United States shape the lives of adherents, in areas including diet, dress, sexuality, health, finances, holidays, and life transitions.

AMS/REL 342 - Religious Pluralism in Modern America   Fall 2019

Examines selected topics (these vary by semester) related to minority religions in the United States today. Students gain theoretical perspective on minority religious experience and/or social challenges occasioned by religious diversity.

Topic for Fall 2019: Wicca, Masonry, and the Occult

AMS/WGS/REL 345 - Women, Religion, and Social Change in America

Explores various ways in which women in the U.S. have lifted their voices, engaged with social issues, and constructed their communities and individual identities through religious institutions and frameworks.

Level 3

One of the following courses:

AMS/REL 341 - Protestantism and the Development of American Culture

Examines the history and symbol systems of American Protestantism and their role in shaping the norms and practices of American society.

BWS/REL 343 - African American Religions   Fall 2019

Surveys the formation and expression of African American religions, from slavery to the present. Includes Christian and Islamic formations, as well as reinventions and reinterpretations of African traditions.

AMS/REL 346 - Issues in the Study of Native American Religions

Focuses on the methods by which Native American religions have been studied and represented, together with ways in which these methods and representations have been critiqued.