WR-236: African American Religious Experience and Expression

Liberal Arts
Religious Studies
Academic Level
Course Subject
World Religions
Course Number
Course Title
African American Religious Experience and Expression
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
Eligible to take ENG courses at HFC.
Catalog Course Description

Examines the African American religious experience and expression in America. Explores the historical, social, political, and economic factors which participated in the design of the African American church, considering African American theology, worship styles, sacred music, and the pivotal model of the African American pastor.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Core Course Topics
  1. West African and American Worldviews
    1. Identify the historical and cultural factors that created the development of the African American religious experience.
    2. Describe the factors that develop a person’s worldview.
    3. Explain the differences in African American worldviews and Euro American worldviews.
  2. West African and Euro American Religious Cultural Distinctions
    1. Identify the factors of West African religiosity.
    2. Describe the cultural distinctions of Euro American religiosity.
    3. Explain the major tenets of African American religion.
  3. The Slave’s Religion
    1. Describe the major components of slave religion.
    2. Identify the major factors in slave religion-Blackanity from Christianity.
    3. Delineate the components which made slave religion socially and culturally acceptable to the slave.
    4. Describe the reasons for and against Christianizing the slaves.
  4. “The Invisible Church”
    1. Identify the social and cultural factors that made for such a social entity.
    2. Evaluate the social and personal perspectives that enhanced “The Invisible Church”.
    3. Analyze the factors that kept “The Invisible Church” separate but added to its growth.*
  5. The African American Worship Experience
    1. Demonstrate an understanding of the historical, social and psychological components evident in African American Worship expressions.
    2. Describe the significant factors that make the African American Worship experience unique as a worship form.
  6. Black Sacred Music, Spirituals, Gospels, Meters, Hymns, Songs of Improvisation
    1. Describe the various types of Black Sacred Music.
    2. Explain the historical and social factors that created their development.
  7. The African American Pastor
    1. Describe the historical, cultural and social factors that made the pastor person so influential.
    2. Describe the various roles and responsibilities of the pastor.
  8. African American Theology
    1. Describe the major tenets of African American theology.
    2. Correlate how one’s theology impacts one’s political and social expressions.
  9. African American Theology and Liberation Theology and the African American Woman
    1. Describe the major tenets of liberation theology and womanist theology from an African American perspective.
  10. The African American Church as a Social Institution
    1. Describe the social factors that make the African American Church one of the leading social institutions in the African American community.
    2. Analyze the social structure of the African American Church as a family, community center, both a place of praise-sacred and place of protest-political.*
    3. Evaluate the impact of the church as a social agency on the personal and social development of individuals.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Each instructor will identify appropriate methods to assess the achievement of the learning objectives for the course.  Such methods could include objective style tests, essays, research papers, journals, and/or projects.


General Education Categories
  • Humanities and Fine Arts
Institutional Outcomes
  • Civil Society and Culture - U.S. and Global
  • Humanities
MTA Categories
  • Category 5: Humanities and Fine Arts
Satisfies Wellness Requirement

Credit for Prior College-Level Learning

Options for Credit for Prior College-Level Learning
Other Details

Determined by department

Effective Term
Winter 2022