Harding, Susan (University of California, Santa Cruz) – American Evangelicalisms

Anthropology 128
Instructor: Susan Harding
American Evangelicalisms 347 SS I, 459-2240
Winter 2013
Office Hrs: TTh 3-4; by appt

The global religious resurgence [is] a process through which the most basic terms of the political and religious order are themselves renegotiated.
Elizabeth Hurd

This course is an introduction to varieties of contemporary evangelicalisms and their engagements with “the secular” in America. The course will provide a theoretical framework for thinking about American “religion,” “the secular,” and “religious movements.” It will also provide some historical background, but mostly it will concentrate on the last fifty years, and, within that period, the main focus will be on the life worlds and public actions of theologically conservative white evangelical Christians.

Required books are at the Literary Guillotine, 204 Locust Street (457-1195):

  • Susan Harding, Book of Jerry Falwell: Fundamentalist Language and Politics
  • Shirley Nelson, Last Year of the War
  • Kathryn Lofton, Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon.
  • Course Reader (call first if you are picking it up after first couple of days)

Readings in the syllabus marked with an “*” are in the Course Reader. The course reader also contains important handouts on the course approach, a vocabulary list, timelines, and questions to guide your reading of books by Balmer, Harding, and Nelson.


Part I. Introduction
8 January T: Course Overview
In class film clips: Balmer, MESG, I and II Intros

10 January Th: Monothesisms/Protestant Reformations/in America (HOs 1-8*)
“Religion: 3 Religions, 1 God”*
Randall Balmer, Mine Eyes, “Word on Words,” “Prologue”*
Susan Harding, Book of Jerry Falwell, Preface, Guide to Terms
In class film clips: Balmer, MESG, Adirondack Fundamenatlism

15 January T: Pentecostal/Fundamentalist/Charismatic/Evangelical (HOs 6, 9-10*)
Balmer, Mine Eyes, “California Kickback,” and “Prime Time”*
Harding, BJF, Introduction
In class film clips: Balmer, MESG, Calif. Kickback, Georgia Charismatics

Part II. Fundamentalist/Evangelical Worlding
17 January Th: Becoming Christian I (HO 13)
Blue Like Jazz background:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Like_Jazz http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/04/17/review-revue-blue-likejazz/ (short excerpts from mixed Christian reviews)
http://www.movieguide.org/reviews/movie/blue-like-jazz.html (v. critical)
Shirley Nelson, The Last Year of the War, 1-25 (or more…)
In class film: Blue Like Jazz

22 January T: Becoming Christian II (HOs 7-8, 13*)
Harding, BJF, Chap. 1, “Speaking is Believing”
Nelson, The Last Year of the War, 25-80
In class audio clips: Billy Graham 5th Wonder; Oral Roberts, 4th Man
Sunday option: visit Jubilee Christian Center

24 January Th: How to Read The Christian Bible (HO 13*)
Genesis 1-3* [recommend your reading Genesis 22 as well – find it online] Harding, BJF, Chap. 3, “The Art of Jerry Falwell,”
Nelson, The Last Year of the War, 80-135
In class film clip: Balmer, MESG: Bibl. Inerrancy

29 January T: Becoming Christian III (HO 9-10*)
Nelson, The Last Year of the War, 135-255
In class film clips: Balmer, MESG: Moody Bible College

Part III. Renegotiating Seculareligious Boundaries
31 January Th: Seculareligious conflicts, background (HOs 3, 7-8*)
Harding, BJF, chap. 2, “Fundamentalist Exile”
Harding, “Religious Right”*
In class film clips: Balmer, MESG: Scopes; Inherit the Wind

5 February T: Shots over the Bow #1 Narrative Belief Paper due
Harding, “American Secularities,” excerpt*
In class film: Through These Eyes
Sunday option: visit Jubilee Christian Center

7 February Th: Breaking Out (7-8*)
Harding, BJF, Chap 5, “Cultural Exodus” Schaeffer, Crazy for God, 1-37*
Sunday option: visit Twin Lakes Church

12 February T: Millennialisms (see HOs 7-8, 14*)
Harding, BJF, Chapter 9. Balmer, “On Location”*
Trailer for Left Behind; End Times & Rapture websites, videos
In class film clips: Balmer, MESG: On Location
Sunday option: visit Vintage Faith Church

14 February Sex/Abortion & Gender (HO 7-8*)
Harding, BJF, Chap 6 and 7, “Moral Majority Jeremiad” and “If I Should Die”

19 February T: Sex/Homosexuality
Lee, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.the Christians Debate, 1-50* Jacobsen and Pelligrini, Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance, ix-23*

21 February Th: Empires, Mega-churches, Music (HO 6-8*)
Harding, BJF, Chap. 10 “Born-Again Telescandals” Balmer, “Purpose-Driven,” and “Sound Check”*
In class film clips: BAT, Josh McDowell

26 February T: Emerging Church Movements #2 Church Paper due
Dan Kimball, They Love Jesus But Not the Church, excerpts* Harding, Anthro. Now, “The Transevangelical Zone”* Kathryn Lofton, Oprah, 1-19
In class film clips: Kimball, They Love Jesus but Not the Church Sunday option: visit Vintage Faith Church

28 February Th: Other Theologies
Tanya Lurhmann, When God Talks Back, Chap 10 “Bridging the Gap”*
Christian Smith, Soul Searching, excerpt from Chap. 4, “God, Religion, Whatever: On Moralistic Theraputic Diesm,” 161-171*
Rod Bell, Love Wins, Chap. 1*
Lofton, Oprah, 20-50

5 March T: Oprah’s Gospel I
Lofton, Oprah, 51-147
Oprah.com: http://www.oprah.com/index.html
Oprah Show: http://www.oprah.com/oprah_show.html
Oprah Ta Da! http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Oprahs-Grand-AnnouncementsVideo/topic/oprahshow?page=17
Oprah Vision: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpwW42HVZws
Oprah Exposed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW4LLwkgmqA

7 March Th: Oprah’s Gospel II
Lofton, Oprah, 148-221

Part IV. Last Things

12 March T: Final Presentations

14 March Th: Final Presentations #3 Final Paper due.