Erika Dyson Course Information

Religious Studies

RLST 105 HM Religion American Culture: Toleration Dyson TTH 1:15–2:30 p.m.

This introductory-level course explores American religious history from pre-colonial indigenous civilizations
through the present, focusing on three related issues – diversity, toleration, and pluralism. We will consider how
religions have shaped or been shaped by encounters between immigrants, citizens, indigenous peoples, tourists,
and, occasionally, government agents. Putting these encounters in historical context, we will look closely at how
groups and individuals have claimed territory, negotiated meaning, understood each other, and created institutions
as they met one another in the American landscape. At these sites of contact, we will also attend carefully to
questions of power, translation, and the changing definitions of religion itself.

RLST 147 HM World/Transnational Religions Dyson TH 2:45–5:30 p.m.

This upper-level seminar explores what happens to religious practices and communities when they are
transplanted to new terrain: for example, in the establishment of “old world” religious enclaves in the United
States, New Age adoptions of “foreign” practices, American understandings of world religions, or the exportation of
American or Americanized religion to other countries through missionaries, media, or returning immigrants.
Considering exchange, conflict, adaptation and innovation as multi-directional, and always historically and
politically informed, we will look at several historic and contemporary instances of religious border crossings.