George Santayana, writer and philosopher once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Surely memory is important and plays a crucial role for individuals and families; what makes us make the decisions we make, act as we act, and even love as we love. For nations it is its collective memory that shapes identity and determines what that society will take. This course examines the role of memory, particularly religious memory, in the development of the United States. By examining specific themes such as land, gender, wealth, race, sexuality we use our time together to examine the collective memories of the nation, especially how these were shaped by religious belief and ideals. Together we critically look at how the past has been used to promote a way of remembering as a nation that has shaped life as a collective and continues to impact U.S. society today.

Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

Notes: Enrollment limited to ten students. All students register for waitlist. Takes place inside Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the only maximum-security prison for women in New York. Students must leave by 4:00 pm due to travel time and security clearance. A security clearance procedure is required with the field education office including security paperwork preparation sessions and on-site orientation before the semester begins.