UI 336-01 Religion in America
Dr. Bruce W. Gentry
Times: Tuesday and Thursday 2:00-3:15pm
Classroom: Carnahan 113
Office: Baptist Student Center (909 Normal Ave)
Office Phone: 335-6489
Office Hours: By Appointment Only
Assisted Site: cstl-cla.semo.edu/gentry/ui336
Note: The Drop Box, Forum, Online Tests, and Grade book will be used
in this class. A number of sources/course content will be posted on the Class Content
Page. The Content Page functions as a calendar.
Description: This course is a study
of the historical, social, political, and philosophical roles of religion in America.
The following two rental texts are required for
Charles H. Lippy, "Introducing American Religions" (Routledge
Press, 2009) ISBN: 978-0-415-44859-8
Griffith, "American Religions" (Oxford, 2008) ISBN: 978-0-19-517045-0
to appreciate the diversity, depth, and influence of
religion in America
to understand the contribution of religious traditions to
the founding of America and freedom of the practice of religion
to understand how religions have influenced and have been
influenced by major historical events and movements
to examine particular religious traditions sociologically
to enhance ability in working together with a team on a
to understand and articulate contemporary issues in regard
to religion in America
to improve research and writing skills.
Student Learning Outcomes:
A. Students will
demonstrate proficiency by scoring 60% or more on a comprehensive objective
exam covering significant facts about the history and development of
religion in America.
B. Students will score at least a minimum proficiency level (4 on a 6-point
scale) on a short essay about a selected topic in American religion
requiring comparison and contrasting of intellectual and theological
C. Students will score at least a minimum proficiency level (4 on a 6-point
scale) on a short essay tracing the effect of pluralism on some aspect of
American politics and culture.
Students will sign-up for one topic and,
as a group, plan, research, and a give an in-class presentation on the
selected topic. Members of the group
will share the same grade for the project. Students will be expected to
comment on the class presentations within the forum on the class web site.
Use any kind of media (video, power point, guest speaker). Group will
be graded upon depth and insight into topic, research, creativity, and engaging fellow
students in the topic.
A list of topics is available on the class information page.
Please provide Dr. Gentry with a copy of your slides (3-4 slides to a page)
or outline of your presentation with an attached page of sources before you
begin your presentation.
The goal for each group size is 3-4 students per group.
Due in Drop Box:
Thursday, November 8, Midnight
Paper should be at least six
pages in length, double spaced, bibliography included, on any topic on
religion in America of your choosing. Make sure your topic is about
religion in America
(i.e., not just a summery of Islam, Buddhism but relate a religion to its
practice/context in the USA). Your paper can be about a movement
religion, history, beliefs, etc. You may even want to research your
own religion , church, or tradition. I may help you revise your topic.
If you have trouble researching your topic, try perusing through the
textbook for ideas.
All sources must be cited as you use them with either
endnotes or footnotes. The actual style is up to you; just be
You should have AT LEAST four good sources in your bibliography. Do
NOT use any open internet sources for your paper unless it is the official
website of a particular religion. You CAN (and I encourage you to use)
the library search engines for journal articles.
Easy 5 points: Decide on the topic
you want to research for your individual papers, type the title and brief
explanation in your document, and upload file in the drop box.
Two Tests 100
Midterm: Thursday, October 4
Final: Check Finals schedule
points (Due in drop box on Thursday,
Students will be expected to visit four
different worship services or religious events and write a reflective paper
analyzing, comparing, and contrasting them. Dr. Gentry will provide a
worksheet to help. Students are encouraged to choose religious traditions
different from their own. The paper should at least be six
Observation Paper Handout
Information on Local Points of Worship:
A. Link to Cape Girardeau
B. Islamic Center, 298 West End
D. PDF Files from the
Southeast Missourian Church pages:
5. Forum Discussion
30 points/session (Start and cut off
dates will be announced in class and posted on Contents Page)
I will assign reading assignments and use the forum for a class discussion
for a limited period of time.
Thirty point sessions will be open for an extended time.
I will assign a demo forum at some point to let everyone get used to how
There will be a few topics for class
discussion during the semester. Students will be expected to comment on
presentations in the forum after class presentations. This is a
subjective grade for each comment you make. You are expected to
participate in the entire forum. Every post will be given a score.
All of your posts will be added up after the forum closes.
6. Interactive Assignments--Giving
in class to be turned in during class or at a later date.
1. Book Review (25 points)--Choose a book from the website
or from the textbook bibliography. Other book must be approved by Dr. Gentry or no
credit will be given.
2. Attendance of university events (5 points or Announced)--Provided at
Dr. Gentry's discretion and will be announced in class and posted on the web
All bonus work must be turned in before the last day of class!
Expectations and Policies:
While attendance per se can not be required of students,
there are consequences associated with absences and policies governing
excused- and non-excused absences.
The official statement about attendance, derived from the Undergraduate
Bulletin, may be accessed at:
Class attendance is expected and class
participation is encouraged. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility
to cover what you missed on your own. Tests will be made up only in case of
emergency or upon prior approval of Dr. Gentry. Students are responsible
for all assigned material. Reading assignments will be made during class.
All papers must be uploaded into the drop box and should be submitted as a
The Undergraduate Bulletin defines academic dishonesty as
“…those acts which would deceive, cheat, or defraud so as to promote one’s
scholastic record…”, and states that “[v]iolations of academic honesty
represent a serious breech of discipline and may be considered grounds for
disciplinary action, including dismissal from the university”.
- Assignments that show evidence of plagiarism will
not be graded.
- Please contact Dr. Gentry or the writing center
if you have concerns or questions regarding the appropriate use of
Civility and Harassment
- A major determinant of a successful educational
experience is a shared sense of respect among and between the students
and their instructor.
- The academic study of religion is only possible in an
atmosphere of freedom, respect, and openness.
- Disrespectful behavior, either in the classroom
or in the forum, will not be tolerated.
- Every person, regardless of gender, religion,
ethnicity, etc. is entitled to their own free opinion.
- Diversity in all its forms merit the respect of the
faculty, and this applies equally to students with disabilities.
- Students with any type of disability should contact
the professor before class begins at the beginning of the semester.
- The website is a considerable part of this course.
- The DropBox is required for the submission of written
assignments. Online tests will be used for testing. The
forum will be used for at least two grades. The Class Content page
will be an important resource for the class and will be used as a class
The best time to talk with Dr. Gentry is before or after
class. For extended appointment, it is best to set up an appointment.
Dr. Gentry’s office is located in the Baptist Student Center, 909 Normal,
on the corner of Normal and Pacific.
Since there are several writing assignments for this
course, you would be well advised to consult SEMO’s writing center. The
writing center is located in the library.
For papers, follow a consistent method of documentation,
Academic Integrity: The university handbook is the guide
this policy. If you have questions about quotations, materials, or
writing style, consult Dr. Gentry for specific questions.
Research: The library has a fairly decent collection on
religion. You can also find good academic religion resources through the
libraries search engines. Avoid using the the web directly for
sources unless the source is exceptionally first rate! The Baptist Student Center also has a library
which students are welcomed to use. The library works on an honor system,
and we only ask that you follow the rules of the library that are posted.
Dr. Gentry has a zero toleration policy on plagiarism.
Dr. Gentry simply will not grade plagiarized material!
Recommended Online Sources:
Oxford Reference Online - Religion
Oxford Reference Online - History
Project Muse Database
Social Science Full Text
Reader's Guide to
Madeline Albright, The Mighty and the Almighty (NY:
Harper Collins, 2006).
Nancy T. Ammerman, Congregation and Community. New
Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1996.
Robert N. Bellah and Frederick E. Greenspahn, eds. Uncivil Religion:
Interreligious Hostility in America. New York: Crossroad, 1987.
Boucher, Sandy. Turning the Wheel: American Women Creating the New
Budde, Michael and R. Brimlow. Christianity
Incorporated: How Big Business is Buying the Church.
Butler, Jon. Awash in a Sea of Faith:
Christianizing the American People. Harvard, 1990. (BL2525 B87x
1990) F; CCL.
Henry W. Bowden, American Indians and Christian
Missions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.
Ann Braude, Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women's Rights in
Nineteenth Century America. Boston: Beacon Press, 1989.
Forrest Church, The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle over
Church and State (Harcourt Books, 2007).
William A. Clebsch, From Sacred to Profane: The Role of Religion in
American History. Tallahassee, Fla.: American Academy of Religion,
Lawrence Foster, Religion and Sexuality: Three American Communal
Experiments of the Nineteenth Century. New York: Oxford University
Clarke Garrett, Spirit Possession and Popular Religion: From the
Camisards to the Shakers. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,
Harrison, J.F.C. The Second Coming: Popular
Millenarianism: 1780-1850. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University
Miller, Timothy, When Prophets Die: The Postcharismatic Fate of
New Religious Movements (Albany, NY: State University of NY
Hardesty, Nancy A. Women Called to Witness: Evangelical Feminism in
the 19th Century
Hatch, Nathan. The
Democratization of American Christianity. Yale, 1989.
Frank Lambert, The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in
America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press,
Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy: the Peril and Politics of
Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century (NY:
Richard N. Ostling and Joan Ostling, Mormon America: The Power
and the Promise (Harper One, 2007).
W. Scott Poole, Satan in America: The Devil We Know
(Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2010).
Putnam, Robert G. American Grace: How Religion Divides Us and
Unites Us (NY: Simon and Shuster, 2010).
Albert Raboteau, Slave Religion. New York: Oxford University
Anne C. Rose, Transcendentalism as a
Social Movement, 1830-1850. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.
Deloria Vine, Jr, God is Red: A Native View of Religion
(Golden, Colorado: North American Press, 1992), 2nd edition.
Tinker, George E. Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American
Turner, Richard Brent. Islam
in the African-American Experience
Wallace, Anthony F. C. The Death and Rebirth of the
Weisenfeld, Judith and Richard Newman, This Far By Faith: Readings
in African-American Women's Religious Biography