AMCULT 301 - Topics in American Culture
Section: 003 Religion and Sexuality
Term: WN 2018
Subject: American Culture (AMCULT)
Department: LSA American Culture
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:

From the Virgin of Guadalupe to Beyoncé, "religion" and "sexuality" have exercised tremendous cultural force in America, which has been figured as both “Puritanical” and over-sexed. In contemporary U.S. political life, sexual liberation seems to be war with religious freedom, shaping debates over individual rights and international politics. In this class, we will explore how scholars have thought about the intersections of American religion and secularity, gender and sexuality. We will engage a wide range of religious practices and traditions, as well as different sexual practices, identities and gender expressions, but this will not be a comparative survey of religious traditions’ stances on sexuality. Rather, we will engage broad theoretical questions about the boundaries of “religion” and “sexuality” through scholars such as Michel Foucault, Tisa Wenger, and Saba Mahmood.

To ground these theoretical debates, we will engage historical, literary, and ethnographic scholarship of religion and sexuality in America. Topics may include American religious utopianism, Orientalism, obscenity law, and twentieth-century sexual liberation movements, AIDS, virginity pledges, and the “culture wars.” We will also examine cultural products including literature, visual art, dance, music videos, and advice literature to think about the ways that cultural forms have shaped long-standing debates over religion, sexuality, and secularity.

Course Requirements:

Students should anticipate upper-level work, including substantial academic reading (75-100 pages/week), high-level discussion participation and 15 pages of academic writing. Grades will be based on course participation, quizzes, and essays.

Intended Audience:

There are no prerequisites for this class, but students should have an interest in and openness to scholarly study and debate regarding religious cultures, gender, and sexuality. Students should be aware that the course may reference sexually and religiously explicit materials.

AMCULT 301 - Topics in American Culture
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
003 (REC)
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
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