LATS 247
Race and Religion in the American West Spring 2017 Division II; Exploring Diversity Initiative; Cross-listed as LATS247 / ENVI247 / REL247 / AMST247
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From the “Land of Enchantment” of New Mexico in the far reaches of the desert to the sacred temples on the West Coast that overlook Pacific Ocean, this course examines the peoples and the “sacroscapes” of the American West. Historian Patricia Limerick regards this region as an extraordinary site of convergence and one of “the greatest meeting places on the planet.” The region is a site of cultural complexity where Penitentes maintained a sacred order, Pentecostals attracted a global audience, Native Americans forged legal/protected definitions of “religion,” and Asian immigrants built the first Buddhist and Sikh temples. Until recently, standard surveys of religious history in North America have devoted minimal attention to the distinctive role of religion in the American West. They have focused on religious history in the flow of events westward from the Plymouth Rock landing and Puritan establishment while generally overlooking the Pueblo Revolt in modern-day New Mexico which occurred in that same century and marked the temporary suspension of Spanish encroachment. How do scholars of religion and history account for these renditions between the past and present? Most mainstream religious histories treat religious experience and identity in the U.S. West as additive rather than complementary to or constitutive of its mainstream narratives. Contemporary historians of religion note the need for new “sights,” “cites,” and “sites” in order to deconstruct and reconstruct this incomplete meta-narrative, taking into account such factors as migration, gender, region, and the environment. In this EDI course we will use tools of critical theory and historicism to examine this region, compare religious cultures, and interrogate ways in which religious practices (de)construct notions of race.
The Class: Type: seminar/discussion
Limit: 25
Requirements/Evaluation: student participation, weekly reflection papers (up to half page), midterm primary source paper (up to 5 pages), and a final research paper on Religion and the Environment (8-10 page paper with a media/visual component)
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Extra Info 2: course is part of the 2016-17 Climate Change Initiative
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: none
Department Notes: religion: Elective Course
Distributions: Division II; Exploring Diversity Initiative;
Attributes: AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora; ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives; LATS Comparative Race + Ethnic Studies Electives

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