What We’ll Read

This course has a long reading list, but no one reads all of it.  Expect to read between 15 & 30 pages for each class — less when the reading is difficult or when we have other assignments, more when the reading is easy and we have less other work.

Consult the Our Schedule page to see what you should read when.


Each student will read two overview books (listed here).  The first covers the course concepts and the second is a short overview of contemporary trends in American religion.

Each student will also be assigned to read one of the case studies (listed here).  A group of 3-4 students will then present the case study to the rest of the class.

The Books page also lists some optional books (listed here).  Students are invited to read and report to the class on one of these, for extra credit.

Library Reserve:

Not everything worthwhile comes in books.  We’ll also read articles: from scholarly journals, from edited collections, from popular publications, and from the web.  Rather than ask you to spend $80-$100 on a printed reader, however, I’ve put a set of useful articles on Library Reserve (listed here).

Each student will read at most 12 of these.  I’ve made a large collection for two reasons:

  1. So we can be flexible, in case we decide to pursue some topics in depth.
  2. So you can follow up topics about which you’d like more information.

As with the books, we’ll sometimes divide the labor, reading several articles then presenting them to the group.  That way, that we learn more with less work.  (See details here and here.)