Religious Historians take on the "Specter of Capitalism"

Heath Carter

Back in 2013 the New York Times declared that "the specter of capitalism"was haunting history departments (you can find my brief response here).  Religious historians are not quite ready to lay this ghost to rest, or so the roster of books forthcoming in 2015 would lead one to believe.  It is shaping up to be another banner year for studies of the tangled relationship of Christianity and capitalism in the modern United States.  Below the fold I've listed some of these books, but please feel free to add more in the comments.

The University of Illinois Press will get things off to a running start, publishing William A. Mirola's Redeeming Time: Protestantism and Chicago's Eight-Hour Movement, 1866-1912 in January and then Elizabeth Fones-Wolf and Ken Fones-Wolf's Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South: White Evangelical Protestants and Operation Dixie in March.

April will bring two more eagerly anticipated titles: Tim Gloege's Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism (University of North Carolina) and Kevin Kruse's One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America (Basic Books).

My book, Union Made: Working People and the Rise of Social Christianity in Chicago, does not quite have a release date yet but is in the production process with Oxford University Press and will be out by Labor Day for sure.  It will be joined at some point thereabouts by at least two others: Darren Grem's Corporate Revivals: Big Business and the Making of the Evangelical Right (Oxford University Press) and Matthew Pehl's The Making of Working-Class Religion: Class, Culture, and Christianity in Detroit, 1910-1970 (University of Illinois).

Finally, look for an edited volume I've been working on with co-editors Chris Cantwell and Janine Giordano Drake to make its debut by the end of 2015 or very shortly thereafter.  The Pew and the Picket Line: Christianity and the American Working-Class (University of Illinois) will include a foreword by Ken Fones-Wolf, an introduction co-authored by the three editors (look for a post or two on co-writing to come!), and essays by many of the premier scholars working at the intersection of religion and labor, including Erik Gellman, Alison Collis Greene, Brett Hendrickson, Dan McKanan, Matthew Pehl, Kerry L. Pimblott, Jarod Roll, Evelyn Sterne, and Arlene Sánchez Walsh.

I look forward to the conversations these books are sure to spark, here and elsewhere.  Who knows what the New York Times may be saying by this time next year!


nn at: December 26, 2014 at 2:15 PM said...

My The Origins of American Religious Nationalism deals with the relationship between the development of American capitalism and American missionary work, and is being published April 1 by OUP.

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