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Divine Hierarchies

Class in American Religion and Religious Studies

Sean McCloud

Placing the neglected issue of class back into the study and understanding of religion, Sean McCloud reconsiders the meaning of class in today's world. More than a status grounded in material conditions, says McCloud, class is also an identity rhetorically and symbolically made and unmade through representations. It entails relationships, identifications, boundaries, meanings, power, and our most ingrained habits of mind and body. He demonstrates that employing class as an analytical tool that cuts across variables such as creed, race, ethnicity, and gender can illuminate American religious life in unprecedented ways. Through social theory, historical analysis, and ethnography, McCloud makes an interdisciplinary argument for reinserting class into the study of religion. First, he offers a new three-part conception of class for use in studying religion. He then presents a focused cultural history of religious studies by examining how social class surfaced in twentieth-century theories of religious affiliation. He concludes with historical and ethnographic case studies of religion and class. ###Divine Hierarchies# makes a convincing case for the past and present importance of class in American religious thought, practice, and scholarship. Sean McCloud explores a long neglected subject, the importance of class to American religious practice and to twentieth-century scholarship on religion. Using social theory, historical analysis, and ethnography, this interdisciplinary study offers a new conception of class for use in the academy and examines how social class surfaced in twentieth-century scholars’ theories of religious affiliation. Defining class as both a combination of economic and social variables (income, occupation, education, wealth accumulation) and as a cultural expression that includes self-representation, identity, personal relationships, and power, McCloud argues that class cuts across more familiar variables like creed, race, ethnicity, and gender to illuminate American religious life in novel ways. McCould concludes with case studies that demonstrate the past and present importance of class in American religious thought and practice. Placing the neglected issue of class back into the study and understanding of religion, Sean McCloud reconsiders the meaning of class in today's world. More than a status grounded in material conditions, says McCloud, class also entails relationships, identifications, boundaries, meanings, power, and our most ingrained habits of mind and body. He demonstrates that employing class as an analytical tool that cuts across variables such as creed, race, ethnicity, and gender can illuminate American religious life in unprecedented ways. Placing the neglected issue of class back into the study and understanding of religion, Sean McCloud reconsiders the meaning of class in today's world. More than a status grounded in material conditions, says McCloud, class is also an identity rhetorically and symbolically made and unmade through representations. It entails relationships, identifications, boundaries, meanings, power, and our most ingrained habits of mind and body. He demonstrates that employing class as an analytical tool that cuts across variables such as creed, race, ethnicity, and gender can illuminate American religious life in unprecedented ways. Through social theory, historical analysis, and ethnography, McCloud makes an interdisciplinary argument for reinserting class into the study of religion. First, he offers a new three-part conception of class for use in studying religion. He then presents a focused cultural history of religious studies by examining how social class surfaced in twentieth-century theories of religious affiliation. He concludes with historical and ethnographic case studies of religion and class. ###Divine Hierarchies# makes a convincing case for the past and present importance of class in American religious thought, practice, and scholarship.

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Ecologies of Faith in New York City

The Evolution of Religious Institutions

Edited by Richard Cimino, Nadia A. Mian, and Weishan Huang. Foreword by Nancy T. Ammerman

Ecologies of Faith in New York City examines patterns of interreligious cooperation and conflict in New York City. It explores how representative congregations in this religiously diverse city interact with their surroundings by competing for members, seeking out niches, or cooperating via coalitions and neighborhood organizations. Based on in-depth research in New York's ethnically mixed and rapidly changing neighborhoods, the essays in the volume describe how religious institutions shape and are shaped by their environments, what new roles they have assumed, and how they relate to other religious groups in the community.

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Elusive Togetherness

Church Groups Trying to Bridge America's Divisions

Paul Lichterman

Many scholars and citizens alike have counted on civic groups to create broad ties that bind society. Some hope that faith-based civic groups will spread their reach as government retreats. Yet few studies ask how, if at all, civic groups reach out to their wider community. Can religious groups--long central in civic America--create broad, empowering social ties in an unequal, diverse society?

Over three years, Paul Lichterman studied nine liberal and conservative Protestant-based volunteering and advocacy projects in a mid-sized American city. He listened as these groups tried to create bridges with other community groups, social service agencies, and low-income people, just as the 1996 welfare reforms were taking effect. Counter to long-standing arguments, Lichterman discovered that powerful customs of interaction inside the groups often stunted external ties and even shaped religion's impact on the groups. Comparing groups, he found that successful bridges outward depend on group customs which invite reflective, critical discussion about a group's place amid surrounding groups and institutions.

Combining insights from Alexis de Tocqueville, John Dewey, and Jane Addams with contemporary sociology, Elusive Togetherness addresses enduring questions about civic and religious life that elude the popular "social capital" concept. To create broad civic relationships, groups need more than the right religious values, political beliefs, or resources. They must learn new ways of being groups.

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Emotional and Priestly Logic of Plural Marriage, The

Kathleen Flake

Kathleen Flake, associate professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt University examines the logic of those women who thrived, rather than suffered, in early Mormon polygamy, and finds that the marriage covenant granted them priestly rights and independence through the powers of heaven.

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Encountering Islam

The Politics of Religious Identities in Southeast Asia

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Endtime Family, The

Children of God

This groundbreaking analysis of the controversial religious group, The Family, or The Children of God, uses interviews, observational techniques, and a comprehensive questionnaire completed by more than a thousand Family members. William Sims Bainbridge explores how Family members infuse spirituality with sexuality, channel messages that they believe emanate from beyond life, and await the final Endtime. He also examines attempts by anti-cultists and the state to “deprogram” members of the group, including children, by forcibly seizing them. The book’s blending of theoretical analysis with vivid accounts of this remarkable counterculture poses a fascinating question for social scientists and society—how is it that The Children of God both differ from the general public and, in other ways, are so surprisingly similar to it?

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Faith, Family, and Filipino American Community Life

by Stephen M. Cherry

STEPHEN M. CHERRY draws upon a rich set of ethnographic and survey data, collected over a six-year period, to explore the roles that Catholicism and family play in shaping Filipino American community life. From the planning and construction of community centers, to volunteering at health fairs or protesting against abortion, this book illustrates the powerful ways these forces structure and animate not only how first-generation Filipino Americans think and feel about their community, but how they are compelled to engage it over issues deemed important to the sanctity of the family.Revealing more than intimate accounts of Filipino American lives, Cherry offers a glimpse of the often hidden but vital relationship between religion and community in the lives of new immigrants, and allows speculation on the broader impact of Filipino immigration on the nation. The Filipino American community is the second-largest immigrant community in the United States, and the Philippines is the second-largest source of Catholic immigration to this country. This ground-breaking study outlines how first-generation Filipino Americans have the potential to reshape American Catholicism and are already having an impact on American civic life through the engagement of their faith.

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Faith in the Great Physician

Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900

Heather D. Curtis

Faith in the Great Physician tells the story of how participants in the evangelical divine healing movement of the late nineteenth century transformed the ways Americans coped with physical affliction and pursued bodily health. Examining the politics of sickness, health, and healing during this period, Heather D. Curtis encourages critical reflection on the theological, cultural, and social forces that come into play when one questions the purpose of suffering and the possibility of healing. Curtis finds that advocates of divine healing worked to revise a deep-seated Christian ethic that linked physical suffering with spiritual holiness. By engaging in devotional disciplines and participating in social reform efforts, proponents of faith cure embraced a model of spiritual experience that endorsed active service, rather than passive endurance, as the proper Christian response to illness and pain. Emphasizing the centrality of religious practices to the enterprise of divine healing, Curtis sheds light on the relationship among Christian faith, medical science, and the changing meanings of suffering and healing in American culture.

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A Faith Of Our Own

Second-Generation Spirituality in Korean American Churches

Sharon Kim

Second-generation Korean Americans, demonstrating an unparalleled entrepreneurial fervor, are establishing new churches with a goal of shaping the future of American Christianity. A Faith of Our Own investigates the development and growth of these houses of worship, a recent and rapidly increasing phenomenon in major cities throughout the United States. Including data gathered over ten years at twenty-two churches, it is the most comprehensive study of this topic that addresses generational, identity, political, racial, and empowerment issues.

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Faithful Republic

Religion and Politics in Modern America

Edited by Andrew Preston, Bruce J. Schulman, and Julian E. Zelizer

Despite constitutional limitations, the points of contact between religion and politics have deeply affected all aspects of American political development since the founding of the United States. Within partisan politics, federal institutions, and movement activism, religion and politics have rarely ever been truly separate; rather, they are two forms of cultural expression that are continually coevolving and reconfiguring in the face of social change.

Faithful Republic explores the dynamics between religion and politics in the United States from the early twentieth century to the present. Rather than focusing on the traditional question of the separation between church and state, this volume touches on many aspects of American political history, addressing divorce, civil rights, liberalism and conservatism, domestic policy, and economics. Together, the essays blend church history and lived religion to fashion an innovative kind of political history, demonstrating the pervasiveness of religion throughout American political life.

Contributors: Lila Corwin Berman, Edward J. Blum, Darren Dochuk, Lily Geismer, Alison Collis Greene, Matthew S. Hedstrom, David Mislin, Andrew Preston, Bruce J. Schulman, Molly Worthen, Julian E. Zelizer.

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