Summer 2010
Fully Enrolled

SOCS 618
The End of the World: End Times in American Religious Thought


06/14/2010 - 06/18/2010
Monday-Friday 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM

Allbritton Center 004

Special Schedule: One-week immersion, June 14-18 (Monday-Friday) 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

This course examines how some religious groups in the U.S. herald the hastening of the End Times, when a Messiah will appear to cleanse the earth of all unrighteousness. We will focus on selected societies in U.S. history including Puritans, Messianic Jews, Christian Fundamentalists, Branch Davidians, Rastafari, the Nation of Islam and Christian Identity, and on genres of representation including fiction, film and popular music. Among the themes we will discuss will be Americanism, or the ways groups imagine the United States to be favored by God, religious politics, and the ways that American eschatologies ("end-of-the-world" theologies) are gendered and racialized.

Texts to be studied include Nancy Ammerman, Bible Believers; Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower; David Chidester, Salvation and Suicide; Tim LaHaye, Left Behind; Hal Lindsey, Late Great Planet Earth

Students will be responsible for a one-page weekly response paper, two mini-projects, and an in-class presentation.

Immersion courses are worth three units of credit and are academically as rigorous as a regular term course, only the class meetings are compressed into a very short time. Students interested in immersion courses should be aware that the syllabus usually requires that students prepare for up to a month prior to the first class meeting and complete assignments in the weeks following the course. Please click here for more information about immersion courses.

This course is not open to auditors.

This course is offered during June Immersion I; the deadline to withdraw and receive a tuition refund is Friday, May 14 at 5:00 pm.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
SOCS 618

Elizabeth McAlister (B.A. Vassar College; M.A., Ph.D. Yale University) is associate professor and chair of religion, and professor of African American studies and American studies. She is author of Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora (University of California Press, 2002). Click here for more information about Elizabeth McAlister and click here for more information about her work.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 16

Texts to purchase for this course:
Nancy Ammerman, Bible Believers (Rutgers Press)

Octavia Butler, Parable of the Sower (Grand Central Publishing)*

David Chidester,Salvation and Suicide (Indiana University Press)

Tim LaHaye, Left Behind (Living Books)*

Hal Lindsey, Late Great Planet Earth (Zondervan)

*= You have a choice in the novel you read: pick EITHER Left Behind by Tim LaHaye, OR Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler


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