CC 300 IX: Social Gospel in American Life
TR 10:30-11:45 am
Cross-listed with HIST 492 AX
Over the course of the last two centuries a diverse assortment of American believers came to see participation in fights against structural inequality as an essential aspect of being Christian in the modern world. In this class we will explore the intuitions, assumptions, ideas, and practices at the heart of this social Christian tradition. We will delve into the writings of well-known figures such as Ida B. Wells, Terence V. Powderly, W.E.B. DuBois, Walter Rauschenbusch, Dorothy Day, Howard Thurman, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Cesar Chavez, even as we also consider the perspective of ordinary trade unionists, anti-lynching advocates, Civil Rights activists, and more. We will follow the trajectory of social Christianity’s historical development as a religious tradition, while also attending to its momentous impact on the nation. We will consider, for example, its role in shaping the rise of the modern welfare state, not to mention the massive, faith-infused labor and civil rights movements that fundamentally altered the history of the twentieth century United States.