Religious Studies 191: Religion and Culture in the U.S. South
Fall 2000, Th 6:00 p.m
112 Armstrong Hall
Dr Briane Turley
Course Web Site: http://are.as.wvu.edu/111.htm
Journal of Southern Religion: http://jsr.as.wvu.edu
Historically, southern U.S. culture has been at the center of much heated commentary. In the 1920s, literary critic H. L. Mencken opined that "Fundamentalism, KuKluxry, Revivals, lynchings, hog wallow politics . . . are the things that always occur to a northerner when he thinks about the South. . . . It seems to him that civilization is completely dead down there." (Mencken, Bathtub Hoax, 249). On the other hand, songwriter and country music star, Hank Williams, expressed more upbeat convictions toward the region when he sang, "If heaven ain't a lot like Dixie, I don't want to go. As these quotations suggest, pundits of southern history and culture almost inevitably refer to the region's religious heritage when expressing their views.
Indeed religion, whether sectarian, domestic, folk, or civil has had tremendous influence in shaping the history and culture of the American South. And, as this course will argue, southern religious history and culture continues to have a formative influence on broader American culture. Using a variety of conceptual perspectives and methodological approaches, this course will investigate the development of the major religious groups in the region and will explore the meaning and function of religion as a cultural phenomenon in southern life. Special attention will be given to religion and culture in Appalachia.
You may contact me via:
Office: G-14 Woodburn; Office hours arranged by appointment
Phone: 293-2421; Home: 864-1074
Required Texts: The following required texts are available at the WVU Book Store.
Albert J. Raboteau, Slave Religion: The Invisible Institution in the Antebellum South
Christine Heyrman, Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt
Samuel S. Hill, One Name but Several Faces
Eugene D. Genovese, A Consuming Fire: The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South
Bill Leonard, ed., Christianity in Appalachia: Profiles in Regional Pluralism
Donald G. Mathews, "The Southern Rite of Human Sacrifice" Journal of Southern Religion, August 2000, http://jsr.as.wvu.edu/mathews.htm
Course Requirements: The following will comprise the criteria used in grading:
1. CLASS PARTICIPATION. Most meetings of this course will involve some discussion of the assigned readings; therefore it is imperative that you attend class regularly and come prepared fully to participate. Student participation will count toward 25% of the final grade according to the following components:
a) Attendance. The instructor will take regular attendance, and more than one unexcused absence will affect the student's participation grade by 5% per absence. If a student must miss class for a valid reason he or she must contact me before the missed class to receive an excused absence. Excused absences normally involve documented medical emergencies, death in the immediate family, unavoidable government obligation such as military service or jury duty, and a university-sponsored activity that requires the student's participation in an athletic event.
b) Active participation. Class participation and the demonstrated ability to critique the assigned readings and relate the written material to information gleaned during recitation. Students must do more than simply recite data but must show an ability to discuss the implications of the authors' works. Moreover, the instructor will introduce other significant works in the field and expects students to compile a comprehensive bibliography that will serve them should they decide to do additional research. Finally, students will also be required to read Donald Mathews article on the "Southern Rite of Human Sacrifice" and make presentations and lead class discussions on the topic during the evening of November 16. The instructor will make specific assignments at midterm.
2. BOOK REVIEWS. Students will write four three-page reviews (750 words) of the required books. Since there are five required books, students may select one book that they need not review. However, all students must review the Christianity in Appalachia text. Reviews will be graded for content as well as grammar and style. When grading book reviews, the instructor will pay particular attention to the topical content of the paper along with the conventions of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and the rhetorical devices of style and logic. Assessment of the student's writing is based on the Chicago Manual of Style, and grading will follow the criteria established by the University's English 1 program. Reviews should be typed, double-spaced in a regular 12 point font (similar to the Times Roman font used in this syllabus) with one-inch margins. Your name should be at the top of the first page. Staple your papers; do not place in binders or folders and do not use cover sheets. Late papers will be penalized 10% per day for every day they are late. (40%)
3. FINAL EXAM. The final examination comprises short answer and major essay responses and will be given on Thursday, Dec 9 at 6:00 p.m. Students will receive a set of study questions at least two weeks in advance of the final. The short answer section will be derived entirely from the word list that we generate during the semester. The major essays should reflect the student's familiarity with bibliographic material examined during class meetings. (35%)
Please see the instructor immediately if you have a disability that may interfere with your enjoyment or performance in this course. The instructor welcomes individuals with disabilities in his classes and will respond quickly to accommodation issues whenever possible.
Students should be familiar with the WVU statement on Academic Integrity/Dishonesty published in the undergraduate catalog. In keeping with University policy, Plagiarism, cheating on exams, submitting another person's work as your own and all other behaviors defined as academic dishonesty will be referred to the Dean of Arts and Sciences office and to the Dean of the college in which the student is enrolled. If a student is found to be guilty of misconduct, the penalty involves the assignment of an unforgivable F for this course and could, at the Dean's discretion, include even more severe penalties.
08/24 Course overview.
Religion and Regionalism: Methodological Considerations in Time and Space.
08/31 Outside the Bible Belt: Sixteenth-Century Spanish Missions and Native American Culture
The Colonial South and Transformation to Bible Religion (Heyrman, intro-ch 3)
09/07 Appalachian Women: The Role of Gender at Home and in the Pulpit. (Heyrman, ch3-end)
09/14 African-American Religions in the Old South: Continuities and Divergences with White Religions. (Raboteau, chs 1-3)
African-American Spirituals and the Case for Liberation.
09/21 The Origins of Southern Evangelicalism.(Raboteau, chs 4-6)
A Crucible for Civil Rights: African-American Religions and the New South.
09/28 We are (are not!) of this World: Protestant reactions to the Progressive Era (Southern Cross review due).
Southern Religion in Art and Landscape.
10/05 Southern Judaism. Jews in Appalachia
Catholicism in the South (Slave Religion review due).
10/12 Honor, Southern Religions, and the Civil War. (Genovese, chs 1-4; Epilogue)
Religion and Emotion in Appalachian Cultures.
10/19 Politics and the Pulpit: Race, Religion, and the Rise of Jim Crow (A Consuming Fire review due).
10/26 Southern Religion and Literature: The Christ-Haunted South of Flannery O'Conner.
Southern Civil Religion.
11/2 Religion and Popular Culture in the South.
The Strange Case of Elvis Presley (Christianity in Appalachia review due).
11/09 Southern Culture and the Emergence of Non-Traditional Religions.
Southern Religion in Film: The Apostle
11/16 Lynching as a Form of Human Sacrifice
11/23 Fall Recess
11/30 Religion as Liberation: Martin Luther King and the Long, Hard Road to Civil Rights. The Future of Southern Religions (One Name but Several Faces review due).
12/07 Final Examination.