Review of Prothero, ed., The Politics of Pluralism in MultiReligious America

Sylvie Grenet of the French Ministry of Culture has an interesting review of Stephen Prothero, ed., A Nation of Religions: The Politics of Pluralism in MultiReligious America -- particularly interesting for taking the lessons from the essays in the book and applying them to religion and public life in France.

A little excerpt below, click here for the full review:

The main asset of Prothero's book is to show how the religious diversity of migrating communities is being transformed by American society, while, at the same time, slowly changing American values and beliefs. Together, these transformations contribute to the construction of a new nation, much more complex than could be thought at first sight. This book opened a new perspective for me, regarding the re-shaping of French nationality. We, in France, consider religion to be a private matter. But what if we, as in the United States, eventually had the courage to put them in the public sphere? Would it not bring a solution to our problems, once we had admitted that relegating religion in the private sphere, far from uniting people, may well pull them apart and shatter the very idea of nation?


Kelly J. Baker said…
What was striking to me in the review is that the reviewer felt that Prothero and his contributors were "re-inventing the melting pot." I am actually not sure that the intent of this volume was to rehash notions of America as melting pot, which is an assimilative argument, but rather the attempt was to present the diversity of religion in the American scene. The contributors note the struggle between assimilation to American culture and notions of Protestant predominance, but I thought they were attempting to document pluralism (which is quite different from affirmations of the melting pot). Did anyone else sense a similar theme or am I ignoring something perfectly obvious in my dissertation-clouded stupor?

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