Offered Fall 2020: RELI 542H: Religion and the Counterculture
Instructor: Yaakov Ariel
During the Vietnam War era, a young people’s movement offered alternatives to the codes, styles, and ideals in American culture and society. This course aims at exploring the mutual influences of the counterculture and the American religious scene. We will investigate modes of spirituality and religious practices, as well as the manners that countercultural values and ways affected veteran religious groups. We will look at a number of new religious movements that grew out of or thrived with the counterculture, such as the San Francisco Zen Buddhist Center; the Children of God; Calvary Chapel and its affiliates; ISKCON; and the Jewish neo-Hasidic and Renewal movements. We will look at the ways members of the counterculture associated between music, poetry, spirituality and drugs. In addition to scholarly readings and classroom discussions, we will also read novels, watch movies and listen to music.