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Pilgrims and Seekers: American Spirituality from Transcendentalism to the Present

Religious Studies 4300 - Fall 2020

The seminar focuses on the formation of "spirituality" in American culture from the Transcendentalist world of Ralph Waldo Emerson on through more recent expressions of the "spiritual-but-not-religious" sensibility. How did "spirituality" come to be seen as something positively distinct from "organized religion"? What are the main contours of spiritual seeking in American culture, especially among those who claim no specific religious affiliation? The course also explores the social, political, and cultural consequences of this turn to the spiritual over the religious: for example, the consecration of liberal individualism, the relationship of religious exploration to both environmentalism and consumerism, the politics of cultural appropriation, the negotiation of religious pluralism, and the pursuit of the spiritual in art.
Course Attributes: EN HAS HUM

Section 01

Pilgrims and Seekers: American Spirituality from Transcendentalism to the Present
INSTRUCTOR: Schmidt
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