American Studies 242
Comparative Religion 242
Religious Pluralism in America
Instructors: Lisa J. Poirier
Peter W. Williams
Profs. Poirier and Williams will coordinate the course and be responsible for grading. They will be joined in conducting the class during the fourth segment by Profs. Aaron Hughes and Liz Wilson of the Dept. of Comparative Religion.
(The Old Manse is the white brick building at 410 E. High across from the Beta Bells.)
Office Hours: Prof. Poirier is available in her office on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10-11 AM and on Tuesdays from 2-3 PM and by appointment. Prof. Williams is available most times during the work week by appointment.
Purposes of Course: To provide students with basic knowledge of the cultural and religious experience of some of the major ethnic communities in North America whose origins have been primarily non-European. To examine the impact of immigration and ethnicity on the pluralistic character of American culture and society as reflected in its religious communities. To develop skills of analysis and expression.
Credit: 4 credit hours. CAS-B Humanities (Arts & Science).
Thematic Sequence: AMS/REL 242 is part of a Miami Plan Thematic Sequence entitled "Religion and American Culture" that also consists of either REL 101, 102, or 103 (at least one of these is offered each semester); and either AMS/REL 341 or AMS/REL 442.(It is an alternate to AMS/REL 241 as part of the sequence.)
General Expectations: Regular attendance at class and completion of regular writing exercises; completion of assigned readings on schedule, and participation in class discussion; passing performance on hour exams and final.
Examinations: Two hour exams consisting of short answer/ identification question (names and terms) and essays, and a similar final.
Final Examination date: Wednesday 12/13 @ 9:45 AM
Written Assignments: Students will be asked on most days to write for a few minutes at the beginning of class on a question pertinent to material recently covered in readings and/or lectures. Grades will consist of a checkmark, occasionally ornamented with a plus or minus for unusually good or bad work. This work will be factored into the 10% of the grade awarded on a credit/no credit basis, but unusually good or poor performance on these exercises may influence borderline course grades.
Grading: Grades will be based primarily on 2 hour exams (about 25% each); a final exam (about 40%); and on satisfactory, timely submissions of other, ungraded written assignments (about 10%) Significant improvement during 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 in a timely manner.
Absence: Each student may miss two regular class periods with no explanation; this does not apply to exam days. Beyond that, absence from the written in-class exercise will result in loss of credit from the 10% given for ungraded written work. 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 of recovery or return to campus) will be averaged in as an F (0).
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 Comparative Religion or American Studies. For further information about such majors and minors, please consult Prof. Williams, who also wears the hat of Director of the Program in American Studies.
Reading: The following texts are particularly important for this course, namely:
Rudolfo Anaya, BLESS ME, ULTIMA
James S. Griffith, BELIEFS AND HOLY PLACES
Alex Haley, ed., THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X
Linda Hogan, POWER
Dinty Moore, THE ACCIDENTAL BUDDHIST
All books assigned or recommended are available in paperback editions, and copies of all are also available at the reserve desk at King Library. In addition, briefer materials will be made available periodically as in-class handouts, on electronic reserve, or on the Web.
Syllabus of Topics and Reading:
(More detailed schedules of topics and assignments will be distributed at the beginnings of each class unit)
Introductory Meeting 8/23
Unit I. Native American Traditions (Poirier)
8/28, 8/30, 9/5 (Tuesday), 9/6, 9/11/ 9/13, 9/18
Reading: Linda Hogan, POWER
First Hour Exam Wednesday 20 September
Unit II. Latino Traditions (Williams)
9/25, 9/27, 10/2, 10/4, 10/9, 10/11, 10/16
Reading: Rudolfo Anaya, BLESS ME, ULTIMA
James S. Griffith, BELIEFS AND HOLY PLACES
Second Hour Exam Wednesday 18 October
Unit III. African American Traditions (Poirier and Williams)
10/23, 10/25, 10/30, 11/1, 11/6, 11/8, 11/13, 11/15
Reading: Alex Haley, ed., THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X
Unit IV. Asian and Islamic Traditions in North America
(Hughes and Wilson)
11/27, 11/29, 12/4, 12/6
Reading: Dinty Moore, THE ACCIDENTAL BUDDHIST
Final Examination: Wednesday 12/13 @ 9:45 AM