Topics in American Studies 1: Church and State in American History

Course title: Topics in American Studies 1: Church and State in American History
Prof. Douglas Ambrose
(Fulbright Scholar)
ECTS credits: 6
Status: Elective
Language: English
Semester: 7th or 9th
Enrolment requirements: enrolment in the 7th and/or 9th semester

Course Purpose:
This seminar examines the fascinating relations between religion and politics in colonial British North America and the United States from the colonial era through the nineteenth century.  Beginning with the biblical, ancient, and medieval contexts of church/state relations, we will devote the bulk of our time to an examination of the working out of those relations in the colonial, early national, and antebellum eras.  We will then briefly consider some postbellum developments.  Throughout the course, we will focus on the ways in which American church/state relations demonstrated both continuity with the larger Western history of such relations and a distinct “American” situation and response.
We will conduct the class primarily as a seminar.  On Wednesdays, I will present a lecture that will provide the context for our Friday seminar discussions.  The Wednesday lectures are not to be monologues; I encourage questions and discussion throughout my lecture.  Seminar meetings depend on the active, informed, and collegial participation of the seminarians—the students.
Showing up does not constitute participation; you must thoughtfully join the conversation.
Course Readings:
We will read a variety of primary and secondary materials. The required readings will be available either on Omega or online.
Course Requirements:
I expect students to attend all class meetings, complete the required readings before our Wednesday meetings, and participate in discussions.  All students will complete a 12 to 15-page paper, based on primary sources, on a topic related to church/state relations in pre-twentieth-century American history.  Each student will determine his or her paper topic in consultation with me.  There will also be a final examination.
I will evaluate your performance based on attendance, class participation, the research paper, and the final examination.