Rethinking America's Liberal-Conservative Divide: A Religions Special Issue

Mark Edwards

Just a brief note to alert readers to a recent special issue of the open-access journal Religions.  It is entitled "Religion, Politics, and America's Liberal-Conservative Divide Reconsidered," and is edited by Darren Dochuk. The issue presently contains two excellent essays of original research by Ronit Stahl and Daniel Williams ( a preview of his highly anticipated new book) as well as a bit of clean-up work from my 2012 book.  Here's the introduction to the series:

Media and scholarly focus on the culture wars has reified a conservative-liberal divide in U.S. religion and politics, to the point of stifling constructive examination of the analytical spaces in-between. Thankfully, recent trends in scholarship have begun adding texture to our understandings of “Right,” “Left,” and “Center” in both church and state. This is certainly the case in the discipline of history. While the study of conservatism has flourished recently as a corrective to an earlier “liberal consensus” model, new scholarship is emerging that reassesses liberals and liberalism(s) in more complex renderings of the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush eras. Meanwhile, several historians are providing fresh analyses of what “conservative” and “liberal” actually mean when delineating important features of our recent religious and political past. Where do we place progressive evangelicals or Catholic radicals on the spectrum? And what about Christian Realists, Mennonites, Latino Pentecostals, military chaplains, and proponents of a “greener faith”? How do these categories break down, or do damage, when we try to impose them on people, movements, and issues that resist easy categorization? 

If you are familiar with books or essays that attempt a similar kind of rethinking, please add them in the comments below.


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