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Transfer Student Research Seminar: Popular Religion and Popular Culture in North America

Semester and Year FA 2015
Course Number FIRST-UG807
Section 001
Instructor Gregory Erickson
Days MW
Time 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin transfer students only.


American religion, historian Nathan Hatch writes, has “less to do with the specifics of polity and governance and more with the incarnation of the church into popular culture.” Although Hatch was writing about the 19th century, this complex relationship between the popular and the liturgical continues to shape and define America today. In this course, we study and write about ways in which film, television, advertising, music, sports, politics, and the news media present, negotiate, and affect religious issues, and, conversely, how religion changes popular culture. We “read” primary texts of popular religion and popular culture, such as Billy Graham sermons, Mormon pageants, Madonna videos, baseball and video games, as well as theoretical works by Jean Baudrillard, Elaine Graham, Peter Williams, Kate McCarthy, Eric Mazur, Susan Mizruchi, Richard Santana and Gregory Erickson. Students are encouraged to explore topics of their own interest, and assignments include reaction papers, various essay forms, and individual research projects.


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Course Type

First-Year Program: Transfer Student Research Seminar (FIRST-UG)