The Indian Great Awakening: An Interview with Linford Fisher at the Teaching United States History Blog

Paul Harvey

Job searches, grading, and University of Colorado business: well, there goes this week. So you faithful blog readers are going to to have to wait until this tsunami subsides next week for the blog to get back on its game.

Until then, Ed Blum and Kevin Schultz are tearing it up over at the Teaching United States History blog. A few days ago Ed posted extensively on his reflections on teaching the Salem Witch trials, and preceded that with thoughts on Revelations from Salem. 

This week, Ed and Kevin are posting a two-part interview with our blog contributor Linford Fisher, Professor of History at Brown and author of the very-soon-to-forthcome The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America, coming out with Oxford this summer. I read this in manuscript last year and this work is without a doubt going to be one of the most significant works of colonial religious history to have been published in quite a while. We'll have much more about it on the blog down the road.

For now, here's a taste of the interview, and click here for the rest. Part II to come Friday.

David Hall discusses the “enchanted worlds” of colonial Americans. Did those enchanted worlds change during the eighteenth century and did Native Americans participate in those enchanted worlds?

Front CoverAlthough I love Worlds of Wonder, I have long found that colonial Americans continued to live in enchanted worlds, despite the apparent breakdown in the sharedness of this world in the early eighteenth century between educated elite leaders and the people in the pew. Even more, history has a funny way of moving in cycles; fast forward another hundred years and, immediately following a supposedly “secular” phase of American history—i.e., the decade or so immediately following the American Revolution—suddenly you have massive revivals breaking out in Kentucky, Virginia, and eventually New York and New England. I increasingly believe that there have always been portions of American society who live in “enchanted worlds” – both in the eighteenth century and now (the rise of global Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement attest to the ongoing power of enchantment today, I think). In the colonial period, many Natives fell in the “enchanted world” camp. Some of this was due to their pre-contact beliefs and practices that lent themselves to reading divine or supernatural causes to illness, weather changes, and other inexplicable events (much like the worlds of wonder Hall describes). 


Samuel Brown said…
Sounds like a great new book. I will look for it soon. I loved Hall's book but agree with Linford Fisher that enchantment recurs regularly.
Anne Stuart said…
The interview was awesome! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to the next installment of the interview and the new book. :)

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