American Studies 2001: Introduction to American Studies

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Unit VI: Civil Religion

Key Concepts: Civil Religion, Nationalism, Ritual, Memory, Memorialization, Lost Cause 

Monday, November 13

Topic: American Civil Religion; or, Myths Americans Live By

Assignment: Robert N. Bellah, “Civil Religion in America” (1967);

David Morgan, “National Icons: Bibles, Flags, and Jesus in American Civil Religion” (2005)

Image Gallery.

Wednesday, November 15

Topic: War and Violence as Sacred Rites

Assignment: Carolyn Marvin and David W. Ingle, “Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Revisiting Civil Religion”;

Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address; George W. Bush, speech, 9/11/02, video and transcript

Anne Blakenship, “Civil Religious Dissent: Patriotism and Resistance in a Japanese American Incarceration Camp

Image Gallery.

Monday, November 20

Topic: Foodways Final Projects

Assignment: TBD

Wednesday, November 22 - No Class, Thanksgiving Break

Monday, November 27

Topic: Race, Nation, and the Lost Cause

Assignment: Charles Reagan Wilson, Introduction, Chapters 1 and 5, from Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920

Image Gallery.

Wednesday, November 29

Topic: Civil Religion after 9/11 in Popular Culture

Assignment: Alexander T. Riley, “The Sacralization of Shanksville,” from Angel Patriots: The Crash of United Flight 93 and the Myth of America (2015)

Michael Butterworth, “Fox Sports, Super Bowl XLII, and the Affirmation of American Civil Religion.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 32 (2008): 318-23.

Listen to:  Lee Greenwood, “God Bless the USA,” Toby Keith, “American Soldier,” and Toby Keith, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue


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Monday, December 4

Topic: Wrap Up Day

Assignment: Final Projects Due!

Final Exam: December 14, 2-5pm