REL 24
Touring Black Religion in the 'New' South Winter 2019

Cross-listed AFR 24 / REL 24 / ENVI 24
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

In February of 1927 anthropologist Franz Boas asked folklorist Zora Neale Hurston to identify an ideal location in which to study and collect data about “Negro culture in the South.” Hurston’s reply, without hesitation, was the central and gulf coast of Florida because she believed there, “it was possible for [her] to get a cross section of the Negro South in one state.” Hurston traveled directly to Eatonville, the town she eventually claimed as her birth home, and for over a decade, utilized the information she collected as the backdrop to her fiction as well as her nonfiction explorations of Black religion. Taking Hurston’s lead, this course will utilize Florida’s gulf coast as the backdrop to exploring the diverse manifestations of modern black religious expression. Because of its diverse geographical, political structures, populations, and economy, Florida has historically been characterized as a “new South” with distinctive cultural expressions. With this history in mind, this course will address four critical questions: (1) What is Black religion?; (2) What are the distinctive aspects of southern expressions of Black Protestant religion; (3) How do Black communities see themselves in relation to broader social concerns? and (4) How, if at all, is religious expression in Florida unique? To answer these questions, we will travel to Florida’s west coast and visit three different church communities to understand Black Protestant religion as currently expressed in the ‘New South’ including a small mainstream denominational church in Talleveast Florida; a Pentecostal-Holiness church in St. Petersburg, Florida; and a mega-church in Eaton, Florida. In addition to learning about Black religion along the western coast of Florida through participant observation, students will visit and tour local historical sites significant to Black religious experiences, and will meet with local academics, archivists, and leaders. A 200-page course packet will contextualize the trip.
The Class: Format: travel
Limit: 8
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: based on an electronic field journal, participation in weekly colloquies, and an oral presentation
Prerequisites: none; not open to first-year students
Enrollment Preferences: majors and concentrators in Africana Studies, Religion, and Environmental Studies; students with a background in ethnographic methods; application essays and interviews
Materials/Lab Fee: cost to student: $3362
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AFR 24 REL 24 ENVI 24
Attributes: EXPE Experiential Education Courses
TRVL Winter Study Travel Course

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