Denmark, Aarhus

Religion and American Politics

when 3 July 2013 - 31 July 2013
duration 4 weeks
credits 9.9 ECTS

Despite the supposed constitutional ban on “separation of church and state” in the United States, religious groups have hardly avoided political involvement. The presence of religious voices in contemporary political debates about such issues as abortion, the environment, sexuality, and even the federal budget illustrates that the link between religion and politics is alive and well in the United States. Various components of religious identity also exert a powerful effect on voting behavior in American elections. This course is designed to examine and critically analyze the nature of the relationship between religion and various aspects of politics in the United States. We ask why religion and politics are so thoroughly interwoven in the U.S. context by examining the religion-politics relationship in historical and theoretical perspective. We also analyze how religion affects American politics among the masses and in the courts. In doing so, we will learn about a range of broad themes in the study of American politics, including political culture, political mobilization, and policy outcomes.
Main issues: Religion and politics in American history; theories about how and why religion and politics intertwine so uniquely in the United States; American religious diversity; religion’s relationship to Americans’ political attitudes and behaviors; political lobbying by American religious groups; religious issues in the American courts.

Course leader

Laura Olson, Clemson University, United States

Target group

Master students

Course aim

The objectives for this module are ability to:

- To develop students’ substantive knowledge of how and why religion and politics interact in the United States
- To stimulate students’ critical thinking skills regarding the normative and empirical implications of the interaction between religion and politics in the United States
- To enable students to meaningfully compare media accounts of the religion-politics relationship in the United States with scholarly treatments of the subject matter

Fee info

EUR 0: Students on a bilateral exchange programme do not have to pay. Freemovers are obliged to pay participation fees while tuition fees only apply to freemovers from countries outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland.