Fall 2019

The "Stuff" of U.S. Religion: Material and Visual Approaches

Listed in: Religion, as RELI-232


Lloyd D. Barba (Section 01)


Mid-twentieth century pioneer televangelist and prominent radio preacher, Oral Roberts, would adjure those under the sound of his voice to establish a “point of contact.” Many would then proceed to “reach out” and place their hands on the radio. Most of his “audience” tuned in without attending his revival services. From radios, bound scriptural texts, bells, incense, drums, clothing, and human bodies, at the center of observable religious practices is an interaction between humans and the objects they use to make sacred utterances legible and meaningful. In this course we will consider the material aspects (photographs, inanimate objects, clothing, film, etc.) that have distinguished religion in the United States. Steady streams of immigrants have introduced new sacred objects to the world of material religion in the U.S. By hewing closely to a chronological flow of events in U.S. history, we will examine how social, technological, and theological shifts have altered the world of material religion.

Fal semester. Assistant Professor Barba.


Attention to Issues of Class, Attention to Issues of Race, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019