COURSE TITLE: Christian Social and Political Movements
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3 (hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
CALENDAR DESCRIPTION: This course examines the rise of Christian social and political movements within Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions since the French Revolution (1789). It explores the context in which these movements arose, their distinctive ideas and strategies, as well as the practical changes to the establishment they advocated. Attention will be given to movements such as the British anti-slavery movement, faith-based schools, Christian democracy, American civil rights movement, liberation theology, Bonhoeffer & the Confessing Church, and creation care. 

Same as POLI 317 and SOCI 317

Prerequisite: HIST 204 or POLI 205 or three credits in sociology at the introductory level.
REQUIRED TEXTS: A READER, “Course Readings, HIST 317 - POLI 317 - SOCI 317 (2016-2017)” is available in the bookstore for purchase. These are required readings indicated day-by-day on Moodle. Other articles will also be linked on Moodle for reading, and are required readings if prefaced by ‘READ:’ but only recommended if prefaced by ‘FYI:’.
Midterm Exam 25%
Research paper25%
Presentation of paper10%
Class participation and reading quizzes15%
Final Exam 25%
  • To understand the logic and dynamics of Christian social movements as they work “against” established power structures, and how they relate to other actors that are working “alongside” or “in and through” established power structures.
  • To understand the diverse Christian visions that have been used to oppose, transform, or avoid modern/post-modern culture since the French Revolution (1789).
  • To understand the full range of cultural spheres that have been influenced by distinctive Christian movements and actions.
  • To be able to critique—including outlining major positive and negative features of—different types of Christian cultural action and change in the last two centuries.
  • To research and write a research (or other) paper on a Christian movement engaging with a specific aspect of the modern/postmodern establishment culture.
    PART I. Getting our Bearings:
    • 1. Contemporary relevance:
      • Brian Stewart, “On the Front Lines,” in Reader
      • Pope Francis’ comments to popular movements,” October 27-29, 2014, in Reader
    • 2. Social Movements and the ‘Establishment’: working in & through, alongside, or against the established power structures
      • Reader: Tilly and Wood, “Social Movements, 1768-2008,” in Reader
    • 3. Enlightenment impacts: the French Revolution (1789) as modernization/secularization
      • Reader: Groen Van Prinsterer, “Unbelief,” from Lectures on Unbelief and Revolution.
    • 4. Case Study: Antislavery movement (19th century Britain)
      • Movie: “Amazing Grace”
      • Reader: Adam Hochschild, “English Abolition: The Movie”
    • 5. Christianity and movements
      • Reader: Smith, “Correcting a Curious Neglect, or Bring Religion back in,” in Reader
      • Reader: Sawyer, “Christ and Culture” [and H. Richard Niebuhr], in Reader
    PART II. CHRISTIAN MOVEMENTS: 19th –mid 20th century: {readings announced on Moodle}
    • 6. Faith-based school movements in secularizing societies.
      • The Dutch “School Struggle” 19th century
      • Canada: Christendom model of common schooling?
    • 7. Should Christians accept a ‘singular secular’ or a ‘pluriform’ public realm?
    • 8. “The Social Question” and the rise of Christian labour and social movements in the industrial revolution
      • Roman Catholic Encyclicals and Catholic movements
      • Neo-Calvinist movements on the social question
      • Methodist movements and approaches to social change
    • 9. Christian Democratic movements and rise of European CD parties
    • 10. Social Gospel movements in the USA & Canada
    • 11. Modernist, Fundamentalist (& Evangelical?) culture-shaping movements in North America
      • The ‘Social Credit movement’: Alberta Premier William Aberhart (1935-43)
    • 12. Faith & Science, and the ‘Modern’ University:
      • Europe/ USA/ Canada: Bible College movements versus 19th century Christian Colleges versus 20th century state-universities; Christian universities globally, even in‘failed states’!
    PART III. WWII onwards {possible topics, announced on Moodle}
    • 13. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Confessing Church, and a movement to depose Hitler
    • 14. Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King, jnr.
    • 15. The “Second Vatican Council” and the revitalization of Catholic movements
    • 16. “Liberation Theology”& peoples movements in Latin America
    • 17. Christian Environmental movements
      • The anti-fracking movement: Wiebo Ludwig’s War?
      • Faith-based movements and global climate change [Dr. Haluza-DeLay]
    • 18. Christian movements of peace and/or pacifism: John Howard Yoder: pacifism and political engagement; Project Ploughshares
    • 19. Christianity and Aboriginal cultural movement(s?)
    • 20. Christian Anti-apartheid movements in South Africa
    • 21. Movements for economic justice globally
      • Others?
    • 22. Presentation of your term papers / case studies in class

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