“Somebody's callin' my name / Sounds like Jesus / Oh my lord, what shall I do?” The spiritual in the title articulates the pleasure of undergoing religious transformation and leading a most fulfilling life as a result of conversion. From the conversion of American captives to Islam in North Africa, to letters from Native Americans documenting their conversion to Christianity (and the puzzlement that ensues), up until contemporary Americans giving in to the fascination of Islamic mysticism or star personas embracing alternative faiths, the conversion narrative has been a core genre in North American literature from its inception. How do converts talk about their religious transformations? What range of feelings derive from changing one’s religion? What is the difference between a convert and a renegade? Must religious conversion be accompanied by cultural conversion? Is religious conversion, then, a form of cultural appropriation? This “block seminar” will take a closer look at conversion narratives, but also provide an overview of American literary and cultural texts from the 16th century to the 21st, hoping to offer numerous inputs for independent research.