American religion is complex, and is increasingly connected to the wider world.  Books are the best way to learn about this diversity.  Two of them give us a common overview; one more lets each of you dive deeply.  Three books in all.  Not bad.

Overview Books (everyone reads these)

  1. Meredith McGuire: Religion: The Social Context 5th edition (Waveland, 2002; ISBN: 978-1577665779)
  2. Mark Chaves: American Religion: Contemporary Trends  2nd edition  (Princeton, 2017; ISBN: 978-0691177564)

Case Studies (each person reads one of these, then works with a group to present it to the class)

  1. Miller: Reinventing American Protestantism: Christianity in the New Millennium (California, 1999; ISBN: 978-0520218116)
  2. Konieczny: The Spirit’s Tether: Family, Work, and Religion among American Catholics (Oxford, 2013; ISBN: 978-0199962793)
  3. Davidman: Tradition in a Rootless World: Women turn to Orthodox Judaism (1993; Univ of California Press; ISBN: 9780520075450)
  4. Marti: A Mosaic of Believers: Diversity and Innovation in a Multiethnic Church (Indiana, 2009; ISBN: 978-0253203434)
  5. Goldman: Passionate Journeys: Why Successful Women Joined a Cult. (2001; Michigan; ISBN: 978-0472088447)
  6. Ammerman: Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes (2013; Oxford Univ Press; ISBN: 978-0199917365)
  7. Levitt: God Needs No Passport: Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape (2009; New Press; ISBN: 978-1595584564)

Optional Books (available for optional individual reports)

  • Ammerman: Bible Believers: Fundamentalists in the Modern World  (Rutgers, 1987; ISBN: 978-0813512310)
  • Brown: Mama Lola: A Voodoo Priestess in Brooklyn, updated edition  (California, 2001; ISBN: 9780520224759)
  • Davie: Women in the Presence: Constructing Community and Seeking Spirituality in Mainline Protestantism (1995; Univ of Pennsylvania Press; ISBN: 9780812215141)
  • Juergensmeyer: Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence 3rd edition (California, 2003; ISBN: 978-0520240117)
  • Levine: Mavericks, Mystics, and Merrymakers: An Intimate Journey among Hasidic Girls. (NYU, 2004; ISBN: 978-0814751978)
  • Marti & Ganiel: The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity (Oxford, 2014; ISBN: 978-0199959884)
  • Nabhan-Warren: The Virgin of El Barrio: Marian Apparitions, Catholic Evangelizing, and Mexican American Activism. (NYU, 2005; ISBN: 978-0814758250)
  • Nelson: Every Time I Feel the Spirit Religious Experience and Ritual in an African American Church (NYU, 2004; ISBN: 978-0814758205)
  • Smith: Soul Searching: the Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford, 2005: ISBN 978-0195384772)
  • Thumma & Gray, eds: Gay Religion (Altamira, 2004:  978-0759103269)
  • Wuthnow: After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion (Princeton, 2010; ISBN: 978-0691146140)
  • Zuckerman: Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us about Contentment. (NYU, 2010; ISBN: 978-0814797235)