Course Information

The following information is copied, with slight modifications, from the University of Rochester Course Description Course Schedule (CDCS) database.

CRN: 11331
Course: HIS 191
Course Title: Cults, Chakras, & Crunchy Granola
Term: Summer 2019
Credits: 4.0
Schedule: MTWR 1300–1600
Building/Room: Meliora 205
Class Info: Course Runs July 1–July 26
Instructors: Daniel Gorman Jr.

Description: This course looks at religious practices in the “New Age,” from 1950 to the present, as Americans explored traditions beyond Christianity. Examples include yoga, Reiki, alternative medicine, reincarnation, spirit communication, immigrant religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, and Native American religions. Often the media splits the New Age into two parts — the happy, shiny “Age of Aquarius,” emphasizing self-improvement and peace, and the grim “Age of Cults,” referring to events such as the Manson murders, the Jonestown massacre, and the Waco siege. In this course, we will mix the lecture and seminar formats, as we explore seventy years of eclectic religious history. We will emphasize alternative medicine, libertarian politics, consumerism, and cultural appropriation. Assignments include a primary source paper and an ethnographic report about the New Age religions of the student’s choice. There will be a field trip to some of Rochester’s New Age religious institutions.

Course Syllabus


Field Visit Assignment


Research Paper Assignment