This course name and description ONLY applies to academic year 2016-2017

POLS 13181-1: Religion and Politics in the United States

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Instructor: Geoffrey Layman

Religion plays a powerful role in American politics. In this course, we will try to understand the causes and consequences of that role by examining the historical and contemporary effect of religion on political culture, political coalitions, individual political behavior, and democracy in the United States. We will assess the religious landscape in the U.S. from a historical and a contemporary perspective, the “culture wars” and the rise of the Christian Right in American politics, the political orientations and political influence of American Catholics, the political orientations of a host of religious and ethnic minority groups, and the impact of religion on American party coalitions and political behavior. To conclude, we will assess the normative consequences of the role that religion plays in American politics by asking whether it threatens democratic government or breathes life into it.