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Women and Religion in the U.S.

The most active participants in American religious life are, and have always been, women.  Perhaps that is surprising since most religious leaders have historically been men. Or have they?  This course focuses on the religious lives of women in the United States, how they understand and navigate religious authority, and the contributions of women religious leaders. We will learn about women prophets and visionaries who founded new religious movements or changed the ways established religions were understood and practiced. We will also examine how everyday religious women have claimed, resisted, and subverted religious authority throughout American religious history. This class will introduce students to different religious traditions in the US, including Native American religions, Spiritualism, Catholicism, Mormonism, and Evangelicalism, and it will also serve as an introduction to gender analysis and what it means to use gender as critical lens.