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A twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Robert A. Orsi’s classic study of popular religion in Italian Harlem. In a new preface, Orsi discusses significant shifts in the field of religious history and calls for new ways of empirically studying divine presences in human life. "The Madonna of 115th Street has over the last quarter century become a classic of American religious history. There are few books that I have enjoyed teaching more over the years and even fewer that have taught me as much about American Catholic history."—Leigh E. Schmidt, author of Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment
In a masterful evocation of Italian Harlem and the men and women who lived there, Robert Orsi examines how the annual festa of the Madonna of 115th Street both influenced and reflected the lives of the celebrants. His prize-winning book offers a new perspective on lived religion, the place of religion in the everyday lives of men, women, and children, the experiences of immigration and community formation, and American Catholicism. This edition includes a new introduction by the author that outlines both the changes that Italian Harlem has undergone in recent years and significant shifts in the field of religious history.
Believing that African American religious studies has reached a crossroads, Cornel West and Eddie Glaude seek, in this landmark anthology, to steer the discipline into the future. Arguing that the complexity of beliefs, choices, and actions of African Americans need not be reduced to expressions of black religion, West and Glaude call for more careful reflection on the complex relationships of African American religious studies to conceptions of class, gender, sexual orientation, race, empire, and other values that continue to challenge our democratic ideals.
American Studies is a vigorous, bold account of the changes in the field of American Studies over the last thirty-five years. Through this set of carefully selected key essays by an editorial board of expert scholars, the book demonstrates how changes in the field have produced new genealogies that tell different histories of both America and the study of America. Charts the evolution of American Studies from the end of World War II to the present day by showcasing the best scholarship in this field An introductory essay by the distinguished editorial board highlights developments in the field and places each essay in its historical and theoretical context Explores topics such as American politics, history, culture, race, gender and working life Shows how changing perspectives have enabled older concepts to emerge in a different context
Christianity is the world’s most populous religion, with some two billion adherents. As a world religion, Christianity has flourished because it is capable of taking on new forms in new contexts. To understand both the religion’s history and its present state, Mary Gerhart and Fabian Udoh gather original texts—from early Christian writings to contemporary documents on church-related issues—in The Christianity Reader. The most comprehensive anthology of Christian texts ever in English, this is a landmark sourcebook for the study of Christianity’s historical diversity. With newly edited, annotated, and translated primary texts, along with supplemental analytical essays, the volume allows Christianity, at long last, to speak in its many voices. Focusing on Christianity as a religion, Gerhart and Udoh select texts that illuminate issues such as theology, mysticism, and ritual, while also articulating the stories of previously marginalized groups, as well as those in new and growing epicenters of the religion. With nearly three hundred selections, the texts encompass the entire history of Christian writings excluding the New Testament, from Justin Martyr and Tertullian to Fabien Eboussi Boulaga and Teresa of Calcutta. Eight thematic sections cover biblical traditions and interpretations; early influences; nascent forms; patterns of worship; structures of community; philosophy, theology, and mysticism; twentieth-century issues and challenges; and the contemporary relationship between Christianity and other world religions. The Reader’s contents are arranged chronologically and are supported with introductions and source notes that explain the rationale for their inclusion and their context. Providing a far richer selection than ever before available in a single volume, The Christianity Reader will be welcomed as both a classroom resource and a work of reference for decades to come.
Homesickness today is dismissed as a sign of immaturity, what children feel at summer camp, but in the nineteenth century it was recognized as a powerful emotion. When gold miners in California heard the tune "Home, Sweet Home," they sobbed. When Civil War soldiers became homesick, army doctors sent them home, lest they die. Such images don't fit with our national mythology, which celebrates the restless individualism of colonists, explorers, pioneers, soldiers, and immigrants who supposedly left home and never looked back. Using letters, diaries, memoirs, medical records, and psychological studies, this wide-ranging book uncovers the profound pain felt by Americans on the move from the country's founding until the present day. Susan Matt shows how colonists in Jamestown longed for and often returned to England, African Americans during the Great Migration yearned for their Southern homes, and immigrants nursed memories of Sicily and Guadalajara and, even after years in America, frequently traveled home. These iconic symbols of the undaunted, forward-looking American spirit were often homesick, hesitant, and reluctant voyagers. National ideology and modern psychology obscure this truth, portraying movement as easy, but in fact Americans had to learn how to leave home, learn to be individualists. Even today, in a global society that prizes movement and that condemns homesickness as a childish emotion, colleges counsel young adults and their families on how to manage the transition away from home, suburbanites pine for their old neighborhoods, and companies take seriously the emotional toll borne by relocated executives and road warriors. In the age of helicopter parents and boomerang kids, and the new social networks that sustain connections across the miles, Americans continue to assert the significance of home ties. By highlighting how Americans reacted to moving farther and farther from their roots, Homesickness: An American History revises long-held assumptions about home, mobility, and our national identity.
From modest chapels to majestic cathedrals, and historic synagogues to modern mosques and Buddhist temples: this photo-filled, pocket-size guidebook presents 1,079 houses of worship in Manhattan and lays to rest the common perception that skyscrapers, bridges, and parks are the only defining moments in the architectural history of New York City. With his exhaustive research of the city's religious buildings, David W. Dunlap has revealed (and at times unearthed) an urban history that reinforces New York as a truly vibrant center of community and cultural diversity. Published in conjunction with a New-York Historical Society exhibition, From Abyssinian to Zion is a sometimes quirky, always intriguing journey of discovery for tourists as well as native New Yorkers. Which popular pizzeria occupies the site of the cradle of the Christian and Missionary Alliance movement, the Gospel Tabernacle? And where can you find the only house of worship in Manhattan built during the reign of Caesar Augustus? Arranged alphabetically, this handy guide chronicles both extant and historical structures and includes 650 original photographs and 250 photographs from rarely seen archives 24 detailed neighborhood maps, pinpointing the location of each building concise listings, with histories of the congregations, descriptions of architecture, and accounts of prominent priests, ministers, rabbis, imams, and leading personalities in many of the congregations
Between Heaven and Earth explores the relationships men, women, and children have formed with the Virgin Mary and the saints in twentieth-century American Catholic history, and reflects, more broadly, on how people live in the company of sacred figures and how these relationships shape the ties between people on earth. In this boldly argued and beautifully written book, Robert Orsi also considers how scholars of religion occupy the ground in between belief and analysis, faith and scholarship. Orsi infuses his analysis with an autobiographical voice steeped in his own Italian-American Catholic background--from the devotion of his uncle Sal, who had cerebral palsy, to a "crippled saint," Margaret of Castello; to the bond of his Tuscan grandmother with Saint Gemma Galgani. Religion exists not as a medium of making meanings, Orsi maintains, but as a network of relationships between heaven and earth involving people of all ages as well as the many sacred figures they hold dear. Orsi argues that modern academic theorizing about religion has long sanctioned dubious distinctions between "good" or "real" religious expression on the one hand and "bad" or "bogus" religion on the other, which marginalize these everyday relationships with sacred figures. This book is a brilliant critical inquiry into the lives that people make, for better or worse, between heaven and earth, and into the ways scholars of religion could better study of these worlds.
One of Italy's best-known writers takes a Grand Tour through her cities, history, and literature in search of the true character of this contradictory nation. There is Michelangelo, but also the mafia. Pavarotti, but also Berlusconi. The debonair Milanese, but also the infamous captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship. This is Italy, admired and reviled, a country that has guarded her secrets and confounded outsiders. Now, when this "Italian paradox" is more evident than ever, cultural authority Corrado Augias poses the puzzling questions: how did it get this way? How can this peninsula be simultaneously the home of geniuses and criminals, the cradle of beauty and the butt of jokes? An instant #1 bestseller in Italy, Augias's latest sets out to rediscover the story-different from the history-of this country. Beginning with how Italy is seen from the outside and from the inside, he weaves a geo-historical narrative, passing through principal cities and rereading the classics and the biographies of the people that have, for better or worse, made Italians who they are. From the gloomy atmosphere of Cagliostro's Palermo to the elegant court of Maria Luigia in Parma, from the ghetto of Venice to the heroic Neapolitan uprising against the Nazis, Augias sheds light on the Italian character, explaining it to outsiders and to Italians themselves. The result is a "novel of a nation," whose protagonists are both the figures we know from history and literature and characters long hidden between the cracks of historical narrative and memory.
Examining three interconnected case studies, Tamar Carroll powerfully demonstrates the ability of grassroots community activism to bridge racial and cultural differences and effect social change. Drawing on a rich array of oral histories, archival records, newspapers, films, and photographs from post–World War II New York City, Carroll shows how poor people transformed the antipoverty organization Mobilization for Youth and shaped the subsequent War on Poverty. Highlighting the little-known National Congress of Neighborhood Women, she reveals the significant participation of working-class white ethnic women and women of color in New York City's feminist activism. Finally, Carroll traces the partnership between the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) and Women's Health Action Mobilization (WHAM!), showing how gay men and feminists collaborated to create a supportive community for those affected by the AIDS epidemic, to improve health care, and to oppose homophobia and misogyny during the culture wars of the 1980s and 1990s. Carroll contends that social policies that encourage the political mobilization of marginalized groups and foster coalitions across identity differences are the most effective means of solving social problems and realizing democracy.
In early twentieth-century America, affluent city-dwellers made a habit of venturing out of doors and vacationing in resorts and national parks. Yet the rich and the privileged were not the only ones who sought respite in nature. In this pathbreaking book, historian Colin Fisher demonstrates that working-class white immigrants and African Americans in rapidly industrializing Chicago also fled the urban environment during their scarce leisure time. If they had the means, they traveled to wilderness parks just past the city limits as well as to rural resorts in Wisconsin and Michigan. But lacking time and money, they most often sought out nature within the city itself--at urban parks and commercial groves, along the Lake Michigan shore, even in vacant lots. Chicagoans enjoyed a variety of outdoor recreational activities in these green spaces, and they used them to forge ethnic and working-class community. While narrating a crucial era in the history of Chicago's urban development, Fisher makes important interventions in debates about working-class leisure, the history of urban parks, environmental justice, the African American experience, immigration history, and the cultural history of nature.
St. Jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes, is the most popular saint of the American Catholic laity, particularly among women. This book investigates the circumstances that led so many Catholic women to feel hopeless and turn to St. Jude for help.
A thorough ethnography that sweeps the reader into the world of Marian visionary Estela Ruiz, her family and followers, and the evangelizing ministries they have created in South Phoenix.
In The Challenge of American History, Louis Masur brings together a sampling of recent scholarship to determine the key issues preoccupying historians of American history and to contemplate the discipline's direction for the future. The fifteen summary essays included in this volume allow professional historians, history teachers, and students to grasp in a convenient and accessible form what historians have been writing about.
All historians would agree that America is a nation of nations. But what does that mean in terms of the issues that have moved and shaped us as a people? Contemporary concerns such as bilingualism, incorporation/assimilation, dual identity, ethnic politics, quotas and affirmative action, residential segregation, and the volume of immigration resonate with a past that has confronted variations of these modern issues. The Columbia Documentary History of Race and Ethnicity in America, written and compiled by a highly respected team of American historians under the editorship of Ronald Bayor, illuminates the myriad ways in which immigration, racial, and ethnic histories have shaped the contours of contemporary American society. This invaluable resource documents all eras of the American past, including black–white interactions and the broad spectrum of American attitudes and reactions concerning Native Americans, Irish Catholics, Mexican Americans, Jewish Americans, and other groups. Each of the eight chronological chapters contains a survey essay, an annotated bibliography, and 20 to 30 related public and private primary source documents, including manifestos, speeches, court cases, letters, memoirs, and much more. From the 1655 petition of Jewish merchants regarding the admission of Jews to the New Netherlands colony to an interview with a Chinese American worker regarding a 1938 strike in San Francisco, documents are drawn from a variety of sources and allow students and others direct access to our past. Selections include Powhatan to John Smith, 1609 Thomas Jefferson—"Notes on the State of Virginia" Petition of the Trustees of Congregation Shearith Israel, 1811 Bessie Conway or, The Irish Girl in America German Society in Chicago, Annual Report, 1857–1858. "Mark Twain's Salutation to the Century" W. E. B. DuBois, "Of Our Spiritual Strivings" NAACP on Black Schoolteachers'Fight for Equal Pay Malcom X speech, 1964 Hewy Newton interview and Black Panther Party platform Preamble—La Raza Unida Party Lee lacocca speech to Ethnic Heritage Council of the Pacific Northwest, 1984 Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, 1990 L.A. riot—from the Los Angeles Times, May 3, 15, 1992; Nov. 16, 19, 1992 Asian American Political Alliance President Clinton's Commission on Race, Town Meeting, 1997 Louis Farrakhan—"The Vision for the Million Man March"
The National Shrine in Washington, DC has been deeply loved, blithely ignored, and passionately criticized. It has been praised as a "dazzling jewel" and dismissed as a "towering Byzantine beach ball." In this intriguing and inventive book, Thomas Tweed shows that the Shrine is also an illuminating site from which to tell the story of twentieth-century Catholicism. He organizes his narrative around six themes that characterize U.S. Catholicism, and he ties these themes to the Shrine's material culture--to images, artifacts, or devotional spaces. Thus he begins with the Basilica's foundation stone, weaving it into a discussion of "brick and mortar" Catholicism, the drive to build institutions. To highlight the Church's inclination to appeal to women, he looks at fund-raising for the Mary Memorial Altar, and he focuses on the Filipino oratory to Our Lady of Antipolo to illustrate the Church's outreach to immigrants. Throughout, he employs painstaking detective work to shine a light on the many facets of American Catholicism reflected in the shrine.
Many Americans feel swamped by immigrants with alien cultures, languages, and customs apparently flooding into our country.
In 1968, Veronica Lueken, a Catholic housewife in Bayside, Queens, New York, began to experience visions of the Virgin Mary. Over almost three decades, she imparted over 300 messages from Mary, Jesus, and other heavenly personages. These revelations, which were sent all over the world through newsletters, billboards, and local television, severely criticized the liturgical changes of Vatican II and the wickedness of American society. Unless everyone repented, Lueken warned, a "fiery ball" would collide with the Earth, causing death and destruction around the world. When Catholic Church authorities tried to dismiss, discredit, and even banish her, Lueken declared Pope Paul VI a communist imposter, accused the Church of being in error since Vatican II, and sought new venues in which to communicate her revelations. Since her death in 1995, her followers have continued to gather to promote her messages in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens. Known as "the Baysiders," they believe that St. Robert Bellarmine's Church, from which Lueken was banned from holding vigils, will someday become "the Lourdes of America" and that Lueken will be elevated to sainthood. Joseph P. Laycock delves into untapped archival materials and a wealth of ethnographic research to unfold the fascinating story of Veronica Lueken and the Baysiders from 1968 to the present. Though scholars have characterized the Baysiders variously as a new religious movement, a form of folk piety, and a traditionalist sect, members of the group regard themselves as loyal Catholics-maybe the last in existence. They are critical of the Church hierarchy, which they believe corrupted by modernism, and reject ultra-traditionalist Catholic groups who believe that the papal see is vacant. Laycock shows how the Baysiders have deviated significantly from mainstream Catholic culture while keeping in dialogue with Church authorities, and reveals how the persistence of the Baysiders and other Marian groups has contributed to greater amenability toward devotional culture and private revelation on the part of Church authorities. The Seer of Bayside is an invaluable study of the perpetual struggle between lay Catholics and Church authorities over who holds the power to define Catholic culture.
Since the 1950s, millions of American Christians have traveled to the Holy Land to visit places in Israel and the Palestinian territories associated with Jesus’s life and death. Why do these pilgrims choose to journey halfway around the world? How do they react to what they encounter, and how do they understand the trip upon return? This book places the answers to these questions into the context of broad historical trends, analyzing how the growth of mass-market evangelical and Catholic pilgrimage relates to changes in American Christian theology and culture over the last sixty years, including shifts in Jewish-Christian relations, the growth of small group spirituality, and the development of a Christian leisure industry. Drawing on five years of research with pilgrims before, during and after their trips, Walking Where Jesus Walked offers a lived religion approach that explores the trip’s hybrid nature for pilgrims themselves: both ordinary—tied to their everyday role as the family’s ritual specialists, and extraordinary—since they leave home in a dramatic way, often for the first time. Their experiences illuminate key tensions in contemporary US Christianity between material evidence and transcendent divinity, commoditization and religious authority, domestic relationships and global experience. Hillary Kaell crafts the first in-depth study of the cultural and religious significance of American Holy Land pilgrimage after 1948. The result sheds light on how Christian pilgrims, especially women, make sense of their experience in Israel-Palestine, offering an important complement to top-down approaches in studies of Christian Zionism and foreign policy.

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