America is land of religious innovation. This course looks beyond the standard religious forms in order to understand some of the most interesting alternative religious expressions in our history. Why do people join ‘cults’ and how do they become so popular? Why are so many Americans in search of gurus and spiritual guides? How do you explain the rise of religious communes and other spiritual utopias? This course unveils the motivations behind the appeals to seek alternatives to traditional religions. It also tells the stories of some of the most colorful religious expressions in history.