This subfield trains specialists in the history of religious thought, institutions, movements, cultures, and practices within the Americas. Students are expected to explore not only the role of particular traditions but also the development of a tradition in other contexts, such as Europe or Africa, and the process of its transmission to the Americas. Candidates are expected to master both the historical and social scientific literatures in their areas of specialized research and to develop methodological expertise relevant to their dissertation work. Ordinarily, students in this subfield will participate in the bimonthly North American Religions Colloquium.
Recent and current dissertation topics include:
- Parenting in Neverland: Childhood Religion and Family Values in Contemporary American Paganism
- ‘Big Boston’: the impact of Community Organizing on Christian and Jewish Congregations in Boston
- Beyond the Religious Pursuit of Race: A Genealogy of Secularization within Scientific Theories of Human Difference
- Post-WWII American Judaism: How Judaism Became an American Religion
- Living Scriptures: Language, Authority, and Emotion in a Mormon Congregation
- Cuba’s Rival Rituals: 20th C. Festivals for the Virgin of Charity and the Contested Streets of the “Nation”