10:30 AM to 11:45 AM MW
East Building 201
Section Information for Spring 2019
While most people today conventionally identify the engagement between religion and politics in the U.S. as a feature largely of politically, socially, and theologically conservative movements (e.g., Moral Majority, Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Heritage Foundation, etc. since the late 1970s and 1980s) or with militant religious fundamentalisms (e.g., within Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) in Asia Minor, India, and Africa – and the political “left” seen as affiliated with secularism, anticlericalism, or atheism – this course will examine the religious contributions (if not also roots) of socialist and communist revolutions in Latin America beginning in the 1960s. Specifically, this course will study the emergence of an activist religious movement called liberation theology through a wide variety of its scholarly and “popular” genres—such as sermons, comics, poetry, folk music, murals, catechism lessons, testimonios, human rights reports, etc.—that have been employed over the decades to also reflect upon, generate, and disseminate, or introduce liberation theology by Catholic and Protestant intellectuals. This course will serve as a basic introduction to some of the initial Latin American liberation theologians (as well as their critics, such as the U.S. Reagan administration, the Vatican, and indigenous peoples), their tenants, sources, context, and methods. Furthermore, it will do so by focusing on some of the key “popular” documents that were written at the time for both Latin American and global audiences. In this way, this course will serve as not only an introduction to modern Latin American religion but also as an introduction to such liberationist introductions.