Faith and American Culture

JPI 511/731

This course attempts a theological-ontological interpretation of American culture against the background, most immediately, of the Second Vatican Council and the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.  The purpose is to frame the fundamental terms of a Catholic’s engagement with modernity as expressed in the history of America.  Readings for the course will be drawn from authors influential in the founding and history of American culture, as well as from significant Catholic interpretations of the culture.


Course Texts for Fall 2021

  • Course compendium – available from Cognella
  • Francis Bacon, The New Organon (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).
  • René Descartes, Discourse on Method.
  • David L. Schindler and Nicholas J. Healy, Freedom, Truth, and Human Dignity (Eerdmans, 2015).
  • Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America. The preferred translation is that of Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop (University of Chicago, 2000). (The Henry Reeve Translation is available online here.)
  • Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. (Also available online here.)

Associated Faculty

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