RELS260 Race & Religion (3 semester hours)

American society is a cauldron of various racial, political, ethnic, and religious formations. Amongst these, religious and racial formations provide strong modes of social organization. Both religion and race are also a major stimulus of cultural practices and belief systems. These two modes influence the ideals of democracy, equality, freedom, and even political identifications. The current agitations about Black Lives Matter are drawing attention to the racial divisions that are splitting the American society. At the same time, these movements are receiving the support of people from different religions. The Islam phobia and growth of right-wing militias are also similarly pitting Americans against one another based upon their religious beliefs. American writers, artists, activists, and even poets have drawn attention to these linkages and the pernicious impact it is having upon our society. Their contributions provide an alternate understanding of the strengths and limitations of American democracy. In this course, we will examine a variety of sources to understand how religion and race are shaping American democracy and society.