Academic Programs 
      

Religion and Protest (HI-655) 
Winter/Spring 2006

From the Church of England dissenters in the 1620s to the Waco separatists of the 1990s, religion has been a locus of dissent and counterculture in the United States. This course will examine that creative (and destructive) potential in American religions, with special focus on the abolitionist reformers of the 19th century, the temperance activists of the early 20th century, and the religious counterculturalists of the 1960s (advocating against the Vietnam War, for civil rights and gay rights, and so forth).

 

Meeting Day, Time and Dates: 
Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 9:20 p.m., beginning February 1

Mark Oppenheimer
Adjunct Professor in History

Contact Information:
phone: 
(860) 509-9500
email: meoppenheimer@yahoo.com

 

Course Syllabus


From the Church of England dissenters in the 1620s to the Waco separatists of the 1990s, religion has been a locus of dissent and counterculture in the United States. Commitment to a religious faith or community is frequently used to express dissatisfaction with the present state of affairs in the world—to protest against it. Today the world is filled with sin, or idolatry, or greed—but tomorrow, or someday in the future, if we follow the correct religious path, we shall be delivered to a better state of affairs. This course will examine those creative (and destructive) hopes in American religion, looking at peace activists, abolitionists, temperance proponents, and the religious counterculturalists of the 1960s (advocating against the Vietnam War, for civil rights and gay rights, and so forth). The course will culminate with a close look at debates about Intelligent Design in school curricula today.

There will be two short papers (about five pages each) and a final examination.

 

Weekly Schedule (specific page numbers to be assigned in class):

1 Feb: Introduction, Protestantism as Protest
John Winthrop, “City on a Hill” (in class)

8 Feb: Pacifism
Reading due: selections from Lynd, Nonviolence in America

15 Feb: Religion and Reform
Reading due: Abzug, Cosmos Crubling, Part I

22 Feb: Religion and Reform
Reading due: Abzug, Cosmos Crumbling, Part II

1 March: Abolition and the Civil War; Preaching as Protest
First paper due. Viewing due, online Beecher Lectures by Harry S. Stout, available at www.yale.edu/divinity/video/convo2005/stout01.htm
www.yale.edu/divinity/video/convo2005/stout02.htm
In class: re-read “City on a Hill,” read “Gettysburg Address”

8 March: Pentecostalism as Protest
Reading due: from Heaven Below; in-class viewing, Holy Ghost People , directed by Peter Adair

15 March: Fundamentalism as Protest
Reading due: Inherit the Wind; in-class viewing of the film

22 March: Religion and Civil Rights
Reading due: from Chappell, A Stone of Hope

29 March: Religion and Black Power; Ethnicity and Nationalism
Second paper due. Reading due: from Malcolm X Speaks
(those who have not read the Autobiography must)

5 April: Religion and the Sixties: Gay Rights, Women’s Rights, Jewish and Catholic Separatism
Reading due: from Oppenheimer, Knocking on Heaven’s…

19 April: “Cults” and Protest
Reading due: from Tabor, Why Waco?

26 April: Religion and the Protest Against Modernism Today
Reading due: Intelligent Design handout; in-class documentary, Born Again

3 May: Final examination

 

Required Books:

Robert Abzug, Cosmos Crumbling
ISBN:
0195045688

David L. Chappell, A Stone of Hope: Prophetic Religion and the Death of Jim Crow
ISBN:
080782819X

Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, Inherit the Wind
ISBN:
0345466276

Staughton Lynd, Nonviolence in America,
ISBN : 1570750106

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
ISBN:
0345350685—required for
those who have not read it before

Malcolm X Speaks
ISBN: 0802132138

Mark Oppenheimer, Knocking on Heaven’s Door,
ISBN:
0300100248

James D. Tabor, Why Waco?
ISBN: 0520208994

Grant Wacker, Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture
ISBN: 0674011287

 

Recommended Books:

David Garrow, Bearing the Cross

Edmund S. Morgan, The Puritan Dilemma

Harry S. Stout, Upon the Altar of a Nation

Grading

The grade will be 20 percent class participation, 20 perent the first paper, 20 percent the second paper, and 40 percent the final examination.

Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500  info@hartsem.edu