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A Global History of US Evangelicalism


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Module description

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This module will introduce students to the complex interplay between religion, globalization, and US diplomacy. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Evangelical missionaries played an important role in the American interaction with the world. The module will explore how US evangelical missionaries interacted with local religious contexts in Europe, Asia and Africa, affecting traditions and transforming power relations in turn. 

In the first half of the module, we will focus on the early 20th century and discuss how far missionaries contributed to the rise of global humanitarianism and the creation of America’s moral empire abroad. Constantly shifting the perspective between the global and the regional, the module will explore the extent to which missionary work abroad challenged and transformed the identity and worldview of US evangelicals abroad, for example in relation to race and segregation as well as gender. We will discuss in detail the role of female missionaries as important historical actors in America’s religious engagement abroad.

In the second part of the module, we will explore key transnational evangelical actors who shaped the interaction between the US and the world after 1945. We will discuss missionary organizations such as Youth for Christ and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and explore their relationship with US foreign policy. We will discuss in how far they helped to secure US hegemony and cultural influence abroad in a Cold War world. This part of the module also discusses the modernization of missionary work in the second half of the 20th century, with a focus on urban revival campaigns, jet-set revivalism, and the global spread of religious broadcasting.


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Assessment details


1 x 4,000-word essay (100%)

Teaching pattern

10 x 2-hour weekly seminars

Subject areas