American Religion

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The study of American religion at Duke encompasses historical, sociological, and visual culture methods. It is set in the context of general American history from the 19th century to the present. Interests in the interdisciplinary study of lived religion, new religious movements, immigrant religions, media and religion, and materiality are supported by a range of courses at both Duke and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the areas of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Asian religions in the United States.

This track will not be accepting any new applicants in fall 2023 for fall 2024 admission.

Convener: David Morgan

Major Field Requirements

  • Course Work: 3 seminars each semester
    • Students entering directly from an undergraduate program ordinarily will complete 6 semesters of course work (18 seminars)
    • Students entering with advanced degrees, such as M.Div. or M.A. in religion ordinarily will complete four semesters of course work (12 seminars)
    • At least 4 seminars must be completed in the field, including 1 in approaches to the study of American religion
    • Note: Courses aimed to develop reading knowledge of a foreign language are not counted in the course load
  • Languages
    • Before preliminary exams, students must demonstrate by examination either:
      • a reading knowledge of 2 modern languages relevant to their dissertation research, or
      • a reading knowledge of 1 modern language relevant to their dissertation research and a basic competence in quantitative methods.
  • Responsible Conduct of Research Training
  • Preliminary Examinations
    • 4-hour test in the general history of religion in America
    • 3-hour test in methods and materials particularly relevant to the dissertation topic
    • 3-hour test in inside minor
    • 3-hour test in the outside minor
  • Dissertation

Inside Minor Requirements

  • 2 courses

American Religion

Christopher Howell: "Designer Science: An Intellectual History of Intelligent Design." 2021. Advisor: David Morgan

Brenna Keegan: "After Eden: Religion and Labor in the American West, 1868-1914." 2018. Advisor: David Morgan

Jamie Brummitt: "Protestant Relics: Religion, Objects, and the Art of Mourning in the American Republic." 2018. Advisor: David Morgan

Scott Muir: "Eruditio et Religio: A Comparative History of Religious Life on Four Campuses." 2018. Advisor: Mark Chaves

Sonia Hazard: "The Touch of the Word: Evangelical Cultures of Print in Antebellum America." 2017. Advisor: David Morgan

Andrew Coates: "The Senses of Fundamentalism: A History of the Senses in Early Twentieth-Century American Fundamentalism." 2016. Advisor: David Morgan

Adrienne Krone: American Manna: Religious Responses to the American Industrial Food System." 2016. Advisor: David Morgan

Wen Reagan: "A Beautiful Noise: A History of Contemporary Worship Music in Modern America." 2015. Advisor: Grant Wacker    

Mandy McMichael: “Religion, Miss America, and the Construction of Evangelical Womanhood.” 2014. Advisor: Grant Wacker