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Detailed Course Information


Fall 2012
Mar 24, 2018
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AMERICAN SIN: CAMPAIGNS AGAINST THE FLESH IN THE U.S. PAST~ Americans have long been caught in a dialectic between liberation and repression. This course will explore "sin" as it was defined by our forbears. Religious leaders and reformers attempted to control sex, alcohol, drugs, greed, heresy, slavery, and other indulgences of the people. What constituted sin, however, has been, and remains to be a moving target. While Puritans were quite willing to tolerate a moderate amount of drinking, Victorians embraced teetotalism, that is, a complete swearing off of the bottle. While Americans in the revolutionary era seemed to tolerate sex before marriage, subsequent generations would enshrine the ideal of chastity. Why did nineteenth century Americans all of a sudden decide that slavery was a sin? Why was prostitution legal in many locales until the Victorian age? This course will not only explore those ministers, moralists, and reformers who helped formulate notions of sin, it also will explore the lives and writings of those people who seemed to flaunt the codes of their would-be reformers. For what reasons did women decide to enter the prostitution trade? Why did evangelical upstarts splinter their denominations, questioning the orthodoxy of church leaders? By exploring the embrace and repression of sin, we should be able to peer into the soul of American identity.
4.000 Credit hours
4.000 Lecture hours

Levels: Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Lecture

Freshman Colloquium Department

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Release: 8.5.4