English - Free topic F: Hellfire Nation and the Modern Mind: Religion and the American Intellectual Tradition

Course content

This 15 ECTS graduate course explores the history of religion in America, with a focus on the 20th  and 21st centuries. Course readings include intellectual debates on the place of and for religion in politics and society.


The United States oozes religion today, yesterday, and tomorrow. Americans are among the world’s most religious adherents, overwhelmingly in Christian congregations, each with its own kind of “American Jesus.” The majority of texts and discussions in this class will look into the contours of this faith group. The nation’s political, social, and economic institutions, and its foreign policy, are informed, even infected, by religious sensibilities. Evangelical, born-again faiths are as vital to the national story as are the mainline Catholic and Protestant groups. Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism (not strictly a religion), among others, are growing rapidly, as are a thousand sects in the “new religious” movements. This course investigates the jeremiad of a “hellfire nation” from its foundations in Calvinist theology to the evolving beliefs of everyday citizens and the actions of Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump in the contemporary era. Course participants are expected to follow the 2020 presidential primaries and the ways the global struggle among religious groups informs weekly news stories.

Classes, with particular emphasis on reading primary and secondary texts, oral discussion and developing proficiency in English.

This course only leads to exams Free Topic 4 with Written and Oral Proficiency in English.

Kurset kan også bruges Frit emne A (inkl. skriftlig sprogfærdighed) og Frit emne B (inkl. mundtlig sprogfærdighed) under Kandidatdelen af sidefaget i engelsk 2019, samt Frit emne (inkl. skriftlig og mundtlig sprogfærdighed) under Kandidatdelen af sidefaget i engelsk 2020.


Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 353,5
  • English
  • 409,5