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End of the Semester Reflections

Jonathan Den Hartog

Back in September, I had reported I was kicking off my "American Religious History" class this semester with some changes. Now, with the semester almost done, I figured a look back would be appropriate.

Most importantly, I had promised some report on teaching Rick Kennedy's biography of Cotton Mather. I can attest that it taught well, and I thought it communicated a lot of complex ideas about 17th- and early 18th century Puritanism really gracefully. Several of the hooks in the book worked marvelously. My students were most impressed that Mather had shown up as part of the Marvel Comic Universe. They were also impressed that Mather had diagnosed the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar as a werewolf. In perhaps the best tribute, one of the students created a historical card game in which Cotton Mather featured prominently.

More generally, I was struck by several other features going through the class this semester.

First, the class really leant itself to mak…

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