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American Examples, American Examples, 0817360298, 0-8173-6029-8, 978-0-8173-6029-0, 9780817360290, , , American Examples, 0817393838, 0-8173-9383-8, 978-0-8173-9383-0, 9780817393830,

American Examples
New Conversations about Religion, Volume One

Quality Paper
2021. 192 pp.
7 B&W figures
Price:  $29.95 s
E Book
2021. 192 pp.
7 B&W figures
Price:  $29.95 d

Fresh new perspectives on the study of religion, ranging from a church-architecture mecca of Southeast Indiana to what an atheist parent believes
American Examples: New Conversations about Religion, Volume One is the first in a series of annual anthologies published in partnership with the Department of Religious Studies at The University of Alabama. The American Examples initiative gathers scholars from around the world for a series of workshops designed to generate big questions about the study of religion in America. Bypassing traditional white Protestant narratives in favor of new perspectives on belief, social formation, and identity, American Examples fellows offer dynamic perspectives on American faith that challenge our understandings of both America and religion as categories.
In the first volume of this exciting academic project, five topically and methodologically diverse scholars vividly reimagine the potential applications of religious history. The five chapters of this inaugural volume use case studies from America, broadly conceived, to ask larger theoretical questions that are of interest to scholars beyond the subfield of American religious history.
Prea Persaud’s chapter explores the place of Hinduism among the “creole religions” of the Caribbean, while Hannah Scheidt captures what atheist parents say to each other about value systems. Travis Warren Cooper explains how the modernist church architecture of Columbus, Indiana, became central to that city’s identity. Samah Choudhury dissects how Muslim American comedians navigate Western ideas of knowledge and self to make their jokes, and their own selves legible, and Emily D. Crews uses ethnographic fieldwork to read the female reproductive body among Nigerian Pentecostal congregations. Editor Michael J. Altman also provides a brief, rich introduction assessing the state of the discipline of religious history and how the American Examples project can lead the field forward.
Visit americanexamples.ua.edu for more information on the group and news about upcoming projects.
Michael J. Altman is director of the American Examples working group and associate professor of religious studies at the University of Alabama. He is author of Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: AmericanRepresentations of India, 1721–1893.
“Altman and his cohort of early-career scholars ask us to focus on the ‘religion’ in the study of American religion. Each author demonstrates how their research, as an ‘example,’ sheds light not on the particularities of the United States, but rather, the theorization of religion anytime, anywhere. The volume is commendable for its emphasis on process and conversation, as well the vigor with which it invites readers to join a ‘new conversation.’”
—Jennifer Graber, author of The Gods of Indian Country: Religion and the Struggle for the American West
“It is rare that I can sit down with an edited volume and find each essay just as stimulating, interesting, and incisive as the one before it, but Altman and the contributors to American Examples have accomplished just that. This is not just a collection considering the many possible forms of the categories ‘American’ and ‘religion’; in a much larger sense, this volume is a guidebook for how scholars across the disciplines can begin to consider the wide-ranging significance of the politics of classification. Altman certainly has, as he puts it, started a ‘new conversation,’ and it is my sincere hope that this conversation will become a central voice in the future of the study of religion.”
—Leslie Dorrough Smith, author of Compromising Positions: Sex Scandals, Politics, and American Christianity
American Examples seeks nothing less than to shake the founding assumptions of American religious history. What happens, these contributors ask, if we approach our archives not with the question of how they fit into a broader historical narrative but ask instead: what does this tell us about ‘religion’ or ‘America’? What does the field look like if we foreground the religious studies focus of J. Z. Smith rather than the normative assumptions of narrative history? This volume offers a timely, provocative contribution to the field and will be sure to inspire debate!”
—Anthony Petro, author of After the Wrath of God: AIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion
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