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Paul Harvey uses four characters that are important symbols of religious expression in the American South to survey major themes of religion, race, and southern history.The figure of Moses helps us better understand how whites saw themselves as a chosen people in situations of suffering and war and how Africans and African Americans reworked certain stories in the Bible to suit their own purposes. By applying the figure of Jesus to the central concerns of life, Harvey argues, southern evangelicals were instrumental in turning him into an American figure. The ghostly presence of the Trickster, hovering at the edges of the sacred world, sheds light on the Euro-American and African American folk religions that existed alongside Christianity. Finally, Harvey explores twentieth-century renderings of the biblical story of Absalom in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom and in works from Toni Morrison and Edward P. Jones.Harvey uses not only biblical and religious sources but also draws on literature, mythology, and art. He ponders the troubling meaning of “religious freedom” for slaves and later for blacks in the segregated South. Through his cast of four central characters, Harvey reveals diverse facets of the southern religious experience, including conceptions of ambiguity, darkness, evil, and death.
Islam and National Identity in the Bangladeshi Diaspora
Muslims in Motion provides a comparative look at Bangladeshi Muslims in different global contexts-including Britain, the U.S., the Middle East, and Malaysia. Nazli Kibria examines international migrant flows from Bangladesh, and considers how such migrations continue to shape Islamization in these areas. Having conducted more than 200 in-depth interviews, she explores how, in societies as different as these, migrant Muslims, in their everyday lives, strive to achieve economic gains, sustain community and family life, and realize a sense of dignity and honor.
Arthur Huff Fauset and the Study of African American Religions
Taking the influential work of Arthur Huff Fauset as a starting point to break down the false dichotomy that exists between mainstream and marginal, a new generation of scholars offers fresh ideas for understanding the religious expressions of African Americans in the United States. Fauset's 1944 classic, Black Gods of the Metropolis, launched original methods and theories for thinking about African American religions as modern, cosmopolitan, and democratic. The essays in this collection show the diversity of African American religion in the wake of the Great Migration and consider the full field of African American religion from Pentecostalism to Black Judaism, Black Islam, and Father Divine's Peace Mission Movement. As a whole, they create a dynamic, humanistic, and thoroughly interdisciplinary understanding of African American religious history and life. This book is essential reading for anyone who studies the African American experience.
The New Canadian Pentecostals takes readers into the everyday religious lives of the members of three Pentecostal congregations located in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Using the rich qualitative and quantitative data gathered through participant observation, personal interviews, and surveys conducted within these congregations, Adam Stewart provides the first book-length study focusing on the specific characteristics of Canadian Pentecostal identity, belief, and practice.
Stewart asserts that Pentecostalism remains an important tradition in the Canadian religious landscape—contrary to the assumptions of many Canadian sociologists and scholars of religion. Recent decreases in Canadian Pentecostal affiliation recorded by Statistics Canada are not the result of Pentecostals abandoning their congregations; rather, they are indicative of a radical transformation from traditionally Pentecostal to generically evangelical modes of religious identity, belief, and practice that are changing the ways that Pentecostals understand and explain their religious identities.
The case study presented in this book suggests that a new breed of Canadian Pentecostals are emerging for whom traditional definitions and expressions of Pentecostalism are much less important than religious autonomy and individualism.
Religion and Cultural Poetics of Greater Mexico
In this ethnography of Catholic religious practice in Fresno, California, David P. Sandell unveils ritualized storytelling that Mexican and Mexican American people of faith use to cope with racism and poverty associated with colonial, capitalist, and modern social conditions. Based on in-depth interviews and extensive field research conducted in 2000 and 2001, Sandell's work shows how people use story and religious ritual (including the Matachines dance, the Mass, the rosary, pilgrimage, and processions) to create a space in their lives free from oppression. These people give meaning to the expression "open your heart," the book argues, through ritual and stories, enabling them to engage the mind and body in a movement toward, as one participant said, "the sacred center" of their lives. Sandell argues that the storytelling represents a tradition of poetics that provides an alternative, emancipatory epistemology. Américo Paredes, for example, defined this tradition in his scholarship of border balladry. According to Paredes, storytelling with ritual elements raises a feature of performance characterized as a convivial disposition and shared sense of identity among people who call themselves Mexican not for national identification but for a cultural one, understood as "Greater Mexico." Sandell contributes to this tradition and achieves an understanding of Greater Mexico characterized by people whose stories and rituals help them find common ground, unity, and wholeness through an open heart.
Opening up the Intelligent Design Controversy
The debate over Intelligent Design seemingly represents an extension of the fundamental conflict between creationists and evolutionists. ID proponents, drawing on texts such as Darwin’s Black Box and Of Pandas and People, urge schools to “teach the controversy” in biology class alongside evolution. The scientific mainstream has reacted with fury, branding Intelligent Design as pseudoscience and its advocates as religious fanatics. But stridency misses the point, argues Nathaniel Comfort. In The Panda’s Black Box, Comfort joins five other leading public intellectuals—including Daniel Kevles and Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Larson—to explain the roots of the controversy and explore the intellectual, social, and cultural factors that continue to shape it. One of the few books on the ID issue that moves beyond mere name-calling and finger-pointing, The Panda’s Black Box challenges assumptions on each side of the debate and engages both the appeal and dangers of Intelligent Design. This lively collection will appeal to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of what’s really at stake in the debate over evolution.
Multiracial Congregations in the United States
It is sometimes said that the most segregated time of the week in the United States is Sunday morning. Even as workplaces and public institutions such as the military have become racially integrated, racial separation in Christian religious congregations is the norm. And yet some congregations remain stubbornly, racially mixed. People of the Dream is the most complete study of this phenomenon ever undertaken. Author Michael Emerson explores such questions as: how do racially mixed congregations come together? How are they sustained? Who attends them, how did they get there, and what are their experiences? Engagingly written, the book enters the worlds of these congregations through national surveys and in-depth studies of those attending racially mixed churches. Data for the book was collected over seven years by the author and his research team. It includes more than 2,500 telephone interviews, hundreds of written surveys, and extensive visits to mixed-race congregations throughout the United States.
People of the Dream argues that multiracial congregations are bridge organizations that gather and facilitate cross-racial friendships, disproportionately housing people who have substantially more racially diverse social networks than do other Americans. The book concludes that multiracial congregations and the people in them may be harbingers of racial change to come in the United States.
The Peoples Temple movement ended on November 18, 1978, when more than 900 men, women, and children died in a ritual of murder and suicide in their utopianist community of Jonestown, Guyana. Only a handful lived to tell their story. As is well known, Jim Jones, the leader of Peoples Temple, was white, but most of his followers were black. Despite that, little has been written about Peoples Temple in the context of black religion in America. In 10 essays, writers from various disciplines address this gap in the scholarship. Twenty-five years after the tragedy at Jonestown, they assess the impact of the black religious experience on Peoples Temple.
Contesting Mulid Festivals in Contemporary Egypt
Mulids, festivals in honor of Muslim “friends of God,” have been part of Muslim religious and cultural life for close to a thousand years. While many Egyptians see mulids as an expression of joy and love for the Prophet Muhammad and his family, many others see them as opposed to Islam, an expression of a backward mentality, a piece of folklore at best. What is it about a mulid that makes it a threat to Islam and modernity in the eyes of some, and an expression of pious devotion in the eyes of others? What makes the celebration of a saint’s festival appear in such dramatically different contours? The Perils of Joy offers a rich investigation, both historical and ethnographic, of conflicting and transforming attitudes towards festivals in contemporary Egypt. Schielke argues that mulids are characterized by a utopian momentum of the extraordinary that troubles the grand schemes of order and perfection that have become hegemonic in Egypt since the twentiethcentury. Not an opposition between state and civil society, nor a division between Islamists and secularists, but rather the competition between different perceptions of what makes up a complete life, forms the central line of conflict in the contestation of festive culture.
Spiritual Practice and Nonviolent Protest at the Nevada Test Site
For two decades the Nevada Desert Experience has organized nonviolent action at the Nevada Test Site as part of the global movement to end nuclear testing. Pilgrimage through a Burning World illuminates how the Franciscan-based group has crafted a contemporary desert spirituality that integrates religious ritual and political action to grapple with the challenges of an institutionalized and internalized nuclear world. Ken Butigan shows how the annual pilgrimage to the test site has contributed to the personal transformation of people “on both sides of the fence” at the test site and to the worldwide emergence of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.