Religion and Politics Minor
A minor in religion and politics provides an opportunity for sustained exploration of the ways in which religion and politics have intersected in American culture, in both historical and contemporary terms. Students may examine any number of issues, including church-state relations, religion’s role in shaping debates that have driven the American culture wars, and religion and electoral politics. Designed to complement and contribute to students’ major fields of study, the minor also aims to augment the undergraduate education of those considering postgraduate professional programs in public policy, education, law, medicine, or social work.
This course explores religious life in the United States. We will focus our study on groups and movements that highlight distinctive ways of being both “religious” and “American,” including the Americanization of global religions in the U.S. context.
Through the city’s history, St. Louis residents and their leaders have established laws, policies, and practices that have privileged certain groups at the expense of others. Race has often been part of that equation. This course examines moments of social crisis in St. Louis history-up to the present day-when residents have mobilized, resisted, or ignored efforts to address race-based inequalities. We consider how St. Louis’s religious communities in particular have understood the city’s racial codes and how they have positioned themselves in relation to movements for social change. Along the way we explore slavery, property and housing restrictions, interstate construction, hiring practices, and gun violence. In addition to course reading assignments and film screenings, students will visit three religious sites to encounter and analyze the intersections of race, religion, and power in present-day St. Louis.