01:30 PM to 02:45 PM TR
Art & Design Building L008
Section Information for Spring 2023
Arguably the beginning of the Modern Era (or at least early modernity) occurs at the turn of the sixteenth century and the encounter between Christianity—namely Western Christendom and by extension colonial Christianity—and the Americas. While Christianity since the time of late antiquity did venture deep into northern Africa as well as Asia (such as by missionaries of Nestorian Christianity into central China and southern India by the seventh century), the Christianity (re)introduced into Africa and Asia and brought to the Americas with the extension of European imperial nation-states in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was significantly different for both the “receiving” Indigenous populations and Christian thought.
With the encounter of new cultures as well as religions, Christianity began to deal with new languages, aesthetics, practices, construals, and ways of thinking – diversities and an understanding of pluralism. At the same time, confronting the emergence of scientific reasoning and the new concept of “rights,” Christian ideas and institutions dealt with a constriction of their place and influence in Europe while simultaneously Christianity participated in an expansion into a wider known world. By the turn of the nineteenth century Christian thinkers took both of these dynamics into consideration in a series of unique and still-lasting constructive moves, intellectual moves and dynamics that continue to pinch and impinge on the continuation of Christianity globally, namely “modern” or “liberal” Christianity and the various responses to it.
Through close readings of influential texts, this course will examine in detail critiques against Christianity that began to emerge during the Enlightenment (1700s) and responses to those critiques into twentieth-century America. The course will end with the examination of a current specific case study within the development of “global Christianity,” namely the implied theology within Latino gangs in Los Angeles, California and Central America and its close affinity with storefront churches.