SYLLABUS: Paul Reeve, “Mormonism and the American Experience”

CTIHB 323, University of Utah 2017

Course Description:

This course explores the historical development of Mormonism in an American context, from its Second Great Awakening beginnings to the beginning of the twenty-first century. It situates the founding and development of Mormonism within the contexts of American cultural, economic, social, religious, racial, and political history. A central theme is the ebb and flow over time of tension between Mormonism and broader American society. How did conflicts over Mormonism during the nineteenth century, especially the conflict over polygamy and theocracy, help define the limits of religious tolerance in this country? How have LDS beliefs, practices, and culture positioned and repositioned Mormons within U.S. society?

Learning Outcomes:

  1. To situate the development of Mormonism within broader American historical contexts and thereby arrive at a greater understanding of religion’s place in American life.
  2. To understand the impact of Mormonism upon American history.
  3. To understand the impact of American history upon Mormonism.
  4. To formulate and articulate in class discussions, exams, and through written assignments intelligent and informed arguments concerning the major developments and events that have shaped Mormonism over time.
  5. To cultivate the critical mind in response to a variety of historical perspectives.

Required Texts:

  • Johnson & Wilentz, The Kingdom of Matthias. Oxford University Press, 1994.
  • Mason & Turner, Out of Obscurity: Mormonism since 1945. Oxford, 2016.
  • Additional readings found under the “files” tab on CANVAS

Optional Text:

  • Bowman, The Mormon People. Random House, 2012.