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Reli 194-02: American Heretics Spring 2012 Instructor: Paula Cooey Office Hours: Wednesdays 2:00-2:30 and by appointment OM 104;

Email: cooey@macalester.edu Course Description Just what is “the Bible” and what role has it played in shaping American life? How might it center a pattern of repeated political and cultural negotiation of power? Many if not most of the earliest Europeans who colonized what is now the U.S. were considered religious heretics by the Christian churches of their original homelands at the time of their immigration. Over the course of U.S. history, “new” traditions have also emerged, often considered heretical or “not really Christian” by the subsequently established Christian traditions. Much of the debate over who is and isn’t heretical or “really Christian” has focused on what counts as authoritative Christian sacred text and how to interpret it. Controversy over what does and does not count as sacred scripture, how it is to be interpreted, and who gets to determine right teaching of these texts for human life has gone on to shape American culture and politics in distinctive ways. The debates and the texts on which conflicts focus have provided the primary scripts, the central narratives, and the cultural discourse, from worship to moral practice, politics to the courts, and secular ceremony to economic life in this country. Moreover, self-identified Christians have turned to scripture to justify opposing views and political action on issues from slavery to the Civil Rights, Women’s suffrage to the second wave of Feminism, capitalism to socialism, and heterosexually exclusive civil marriage laws to Gay Rights. This course will examine this pattern, characterized by dispute, adaptation, and power, even violence, by looking at a number of these groups, their sacred texts, and their impact through the use of film, guest lecture, visual arts, field work in various different religious communities, on-line virtual churches, and, most importantly, the sacred texts themselves.
This course is scheduled as an MWF course; however, class will not meet on Fridays due to required fieldwork and required attendance at other events. This course counts in fulfillment of the Multiculturalism requirement.

Required Materials: American Scriptures, Ed. Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp [AS] Bible (Oxford annotated with Apocrypha, NRSV preferred) [on 2-hour reserve]

Bruce Forbes (Professor of Religious Studies @ Morningside College) 4:30 pm Weyerhaeuser Board Room “Cults” Controversies: Contested Religion and American Protestantism” 4/1/12 . relatively briefly). and the Making of 20th Century U.S. Each week you will be required to write short responses (250 words) to the four public lectures and to the weekly materials including my lectures in order to facilitate class discussions on Wednesdays. Required Lectures: 2/5/12 . activist) 4:30 pm Weyerhaeuser Board Room “The Hostile Gospel: Exploring the Socio-Religious Meaning within Hip Hop” There are four additional lectures in this series that you are not required to attend. Daniel White Hodge Short articles and visual images posted on Moodle. writer. the Sacrament of Penance. and the fieldwork presented in class. Catholicism” 3/4/12 . Inspirations and Techniques from research on Minnesota's Diverse Religious Communities” 2/12/12 . though I encourage you to go simply because they should prove very interesting. I will also lecture regularly on the historical background to the readings (again. . Claudia Setzer and David Shefferman [BAC] The Book of Jerry Falwell.Robert Orsi (Professor of Religion/Grace Craddock Nagle Chair in Catholic Studies @ Northwestern University) 4:30 pm Weyerhaeuser Chapel “Secrets of the Confessional: Children. the film “The Apostle” (on 4-hour reserve in Media Studies). These responses are due in my office on Tuesday mornings at 11:15 (promptly). all lectures (mine and the public ones). Susan Friend Harding [BJF] The Soul of Hip Hop.Religion and Women and Gender Studies Departments @ Carleton College) 4:30 pm Weyerhaeuser Board Room “Beyond Lake Wobegon: Diving into the Depths of the Global Religious Worlds of the Twin Cities: Fieldwork Reflections. In addition.2 The Bible and American Culture. See Moodle posting for a full listing.Dan Hodge (Lecturer in the Pan African Studies department at Cal State Los Angeles & at Citrus College in the Sociology department/speaker. all required books are on 2-hour reserve as well. we will do advance preparation in class for this exam (see schedule of classes below). Eds.Shana Sippy (Professor . At the end of the semester you will write a take-home essay exam covering the required materials. Additional requirements: You are required to do fieldwork on a local religious community to be presented to the class orally at the end of the semester (more on this coming soon).

there will be no extension of deadlines. keeping up with the readings and lectures. I accept only paper copy turned in to my office (OM104) on time. Again for the same reasons. all electronic equipment. .3 Grade Calculation: Written responses 25% Fieldwork presentation (oral) Class participation 25% Final Exam 25% 25% Class policy: Because this course depends heavily on group work and class participation. but not least. Last. must be either left at home or turned off. it helps to have a good sense of humor. including cell phones. In regard to written assignments. unless there are dire circumstances for which you have written documentation. For the same reasons. coming to class on time and attendance are required throughout the semester unless there are extenuating circumstances for which you have written documentation.

near Summit. multi-ethnic) Emmanuel Tabernacle (Minneapolis. University St.” & The Acts of the Apostles 1-13 (Moodle) What is a sacred scripture? How do believers Theoretical categories & assumptions for the . check also Oakdale Temple) African Methodist Episcopal (St. Paul. Paul.” Malcolm X (Moodle) Unit Five Feb 20-22 Scripting social reform through politics & Introductions. chapter 2 AS. Paul. chapter 3. on Lexington.” pp. Paul.. African American) St. “A Guide to Terms. Episcopal/largely white) Pentecostal Church (St. 22nd & 25th. the film “The Apostle. chapter 1 BJF.95-148 “Mecca. 170-193 BAC. Summit & Saratoga. E. Midway. Paul on the hill (St.4 Possible Field Sites: Living Word Church (St. pp. and University.” chapter 1 NOTE REQUIRED LECTURE on FEB 5 Unit Three Feb 6-8 Scripture as text for the New Republic BAC. LDS/Mormon. multi-ethnic) SCHEDULE OF ASSIGNMENTS Unit One Jan 23-25 Unit Two Jan 30-Feb 1 live it? course BAC. largely African American) Pilgrim Baptist (St. Paul. The life & Morals of Jesus of Nazareth” WORKSHOP on FIELDWORK NOTE REQUIRED LECTURE on FEB 12 Unite Four Feb 13-15 Scripture’s role in race & gender: Slavery to Civil Rights AS “The Rise & Progress of the Kingdoms of Light & Darkness. NonDenominational.

chapters 6 & 7 NOTE REQUIRED LECTURE on MAR 4 Unit Seven Mar 5-7 Holy Spirit Re-scripting through experience by the BAC chapter 4. pp. 32-62 SPRING BREAK Mar 10-18 Unit Eight Mar 19-21 modernity Fundamentalism as a creature of BJF. 5.199-215 “The Coming of Lilith. chapter 9 BAC. “The Book of Mormon” pp. 4. 63-93 AS. chapter 4. & “Post Script” Unit Nine Mar 26-28 part I Extending the Word into the 21st Century. 3. Scripting from the Streets The Soul of Hip Hop NOTE REQUIRED LECTURE on APR 1 Unit Ten April 2-4 II Extending the Word into the 21st century. pp.5 science BAC chapter 3.148-197 BJF. 10.” Judith Plaskow (Moodle) BJF. 221-243 Unit Eleven April 9-11 Putting it all together . part Digital Religion and Apocalypticism BJF. “A Holy Sacred & Divine Scroll & Book” pp. pp. 215-221 AS. chapters 2 & 8 Unit Six Feb 27-29 sexuality Re-scripting scripture on gender & BAC chapter 4.

February 12. 23 May 2. OM104 . March 4. 10:00.6 Workshop on oral presentations Meet with small groups Unit Twelve April 16-18 Unit Thirteen April 23-25 Unit Fourteen April 30 Fieldwork Presentations Fieldwork Presentations (4/23) Exam Prep (4/25) COURSE EVALUATIONS ATTENDANCE ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dates not to forget: Public Lectures Dinner at the Cooey-Nichols Fieldwork Presentations Final Exam due February 5. 18. April 1 SEE SCHEDULE ON FIRST PAGE January 31. 5:30-7:00 April 16.