Religion in the Americas

Religion in the Americas

This field of study focuses on the history and lived experience of religion within the United States, while recognizing transnational linkages with religious developments in Canada and Latin America. You will develop a historical and critical understanding of religion in the Americas from the sixteenth century to the present day, including the multiplicity of traditions and diverse modes of religious expression.

You are expected to cultivate methodologies appropriate to your areas of interest, such as historical and literary analysis, ethnography, and cultural studies. In addition, you are encouraged to explore intersections between religion and other facets of American experience, such as colonialism, modernity, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, communications media, illness and health, popular cultures, and politics. Potential areas of concentration are diverse, and may include (but are not limited to) African American Religions, Evangelical and Charismatic Christianity, and Religion and American Culture. As with any subfield of religious studies, you are expected to be familiar with the primary and secondary literature on your chosen subject as well as relevant social-scientific and critical literatures that position your scholarship within the broader study of religion.

Sample exam structure

You are required to take four written exams (each 3 hours in length) over two weeks, followed by an oral exam. Although the topics of the exams vary from student to student, typically these exams are structured around the following four areas:

  1. A historical exam assessing documentary knowledge.
  2. A methodological exam focused on historiographical and critical approaches.
  3. A subject area exam related to your planned dissertation.
  4. A secondary exam, focused on your outside minor. Each of the departmental exams is guided by a different bibliography, developed in consultation between you and the core faculty; bibliographies should be prepared by the summer following the first year of your Ph.D. program.