American Studies 341
Protestantism and the Development of American Culture
Instructor: Prof. Peter W. Williams
This course is first designed to describe some of the major varieties or "families" of Protestant Christianity in the United States (and its colonial antecedents) in terms of their origins and historical developments; distinctive beliefs, practices, patterns of worship and of organization; and the sociological and geographical circumstances of their appeal.
Secondly, it sets out to investigate how each of these groups has generated a set of distinctive social and cultural attitudes, and how these attitudes have shaped and been shaped by larger patterns of American cultural development. The emphasis is not so much on religious thought in a formal sense, but rather on the ways in which religious ideas and practices of particular communities translate into broader patterns of worldview and behavior.
Finally, this course -- like all good liberal arts courses -- is designed to encourage critical thinking and informed written observation, analysis, and expression.
This course is in some ways a companion to REL 241 and REL 242, which deals with ethnicity and religious pluralism, especially among non-Protestant groups, in North America. However, none presupposes the others, and each may be taken independently. Together with a 100-level REL course, they constitute the "Religion and American Life" Thematic Sequence for the Miami Plan. Either REL 241 or REL 242 will be offered during the 2000-01 academic year.
Credit: REL 341 carries 4 hours credit towards the fulfillment of the LER-B and CAS-B requirements in the College of Arts & Science.
Examinations: Hour exams will be held approximately 1/3 and 2/3 of the way through the course at specific times to be announced as it becomes more evident exactly how long it will take to cover the material in each unit. Exams usually consist of short answer/identification question (names and terms) and essays.
1.All students are expected to submit two worship service reports. Specifics on the worship reports will be provided on a separate handout at an appropriate time. These assignments will not receive formal grades, but the instructor may provide written feedback where appropriate.
2. Most class sessions will begin with a brief written exercise covering the previous day’s class activities and any reading that may be assigned for that day. These will be given credit/no credit grades. Students are allowed two cuts per course; other absences for medical or family emergencies must be documented. More than two non-excused no credits will result in a lowered grade.
Grading: Grades will be based primarily on 2 hour exams (about 25% each); a final exam (about 40%); and on satisfactory submissions of other, ungraded written assignments (about 10%). Students who have achieved a B average or better on the hour exams may elect a 10 to 15 page term paper on a topic mutually agreeable to themselves and the instructor in lieu of a final. (This paper's topic must be approved by the instructor at least three weeks prior to the end of the term, and should be turned in no later than Wednesday of exam week. The instructor will expect to see at least one draft prior to final submission.) Significant improvement through the course and active class participation may be taken into account in determining the final grade. Credit will not be given for the course unless all examinations are completed and the worship reports are submitted in a timely manner.
Absence: Extensions or make-up examinations will not be given except for substantive medical reasons or family emergencies. Any such situations should be reported to the instructor immediately. The instructor reserves the right to request documentation for any such absences. Any exam missed and not made up quickly (i.e., within a week after recovery or return to campus) will be averaged in as an F (0).
Office Hours: Brief, informal consultations with the instructor can usually be conducted before or after class. However, he is generally available at most times during the working week in his office for formal consultation or informal conversation. If you want to make a specific appointment at a mutually convenient time, please see him before or after class or call 529-4305 during working hours. (Leave a message on Voice Mail if you do not get a personal answer.) E-mail messages at email@example.com are answered asap. Otherwise, you are welcome to drop by at your convenience, and he will most likely be there.
Majors and Minors: AMS/REL 241, 242 and 341 are designed for any students interested in pursuing the study of religion and culture in American life and history, but are also directly relevant to majors or minors in Religion or American Studies. They also satisfy the sequence requirement for AMS majors. For further information about such majors and minors, please consult the instructor, who also wears the hat of Director of the Program in American Studies.
Readings: The following books will be utilized in whole or in part. All will be available through the Shriver Center and Miami Co-op Bookstores, and will also be available on reserve at King Library:
Randall Balmer, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory (Oxford pb)
Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography (Norton Critical Editions pb, or any other convenient edition)
Elliott J. Gorn, ed., The McGuffey Readers: Selections from the 1879 Edition (Bedford pb)
Edmund Morgan, The Puritan Dilemma (Longman pb)
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (New Am. Library pb)
America's Religions: Traditions and Cultures (University of Illinois pb), the instructor's own work, grew out of the lectures in this and other related courses. You may want to purchase a copy, or use one of several copies available on reserve at King. Relevant chapters in this work are essentially write-ups of your lecture outlines; you may find them useful to read in conjunction with the lectures and/or for review for exams.
Units of Study
I. The Lutheran, Anglican, and Anabaptist Traditions
Lutheran Tradition: Chap. 8; relevant portions of 26 & 43.
Anglican Tradition: Chaps. 9 & 33; relevant portions of 26 & 43
Anabaptist Tradition: Chapter 19
First Hour Exam (TBA)
First Worship Report due at time of hour exam
II. Puritanism, Quakers, and the Enlightenment
Morgan, The Puritan Dilemma
Reformed Tradition & Puritanism: Chaps. 10, 13, 14
Quakers (Society of Friends): Chap.15
Unitarianism & The Enlightenment: Chaps. 18, 22, 28
Second Hour Exam (TBA)
III. Evangelical Protestantism and Its Offspring
Balmer, Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory
Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (to be read for final)
America's Religions chaps. 17, 23-25, 31, 34, 35, 44
IV. Liberal, Neo-Orthodox and "Mainline" Protestantism
America's Religions, chaps. 32, 42, 43, 51, 53
Final Exam: TBA
Second worship report due at time of final