The Future of American Religious History Monographs
Her title alone reminds me of a little section in Matt Sutton’s book on Sister Aimee where on a church survey form, one congregant wrote down for occupation: “Chief Klansman.” Way to go, Kelly, and what a striking cover!
Then Art Remillard’s Southern Civil Religions: Imagining the Good Society in the Post-Reconstruction Era should be out by December. Not only a blogger, Art is an editor at the terrific online Journal of Southern Religion. Doyen of southern religious history Charles Reagan Wilson claims of Art’s book, “anyone wanting to understand how a variety of people in the South have understood its spiritual and moral meanings will like this book.” I think he’s right, and my guess is that reviewers will read it in comparison with Paul Gaston’s New South Creed and John David Smith’s terrific Old Creed for the New South. Art’s book may also be read as a kind of prequel to Andrew Manis’s Southern Civil Religions in Conflict: Civil Rights and the Culture Wars (2002).
Speaking of J. D. Smith … he’s blurbed another forthcoming book that looks fascinating: W. Scott Poole’s Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting (out in October). Smith writes, "Poole brings to life American horror stories by framing them within folk belief, religion, and popular culture, broadly unraveling the idea of the monster. Thanks to Poole's insights we see the ubiquity of the monster lurking in and around us." Scott is one of my favorite historians of religion and culture – whether we’re talking South Carolina during Reconstruction or Satan in comic books. This is sure to be another path-breaking book.
And look out early Americanists. Amanda Porterfield’s study of religion and politics in the early Republic – Doubt – should be published soon too, and I think given her work and David Sehat’s Myth of American Religious Freedom we’re going to have to rethink Nathan Hatch’s democratization thesis pretty seriously.
Congratulations to Kelly, Art, Scott, and Amanda.