Religion in New York

File:View of the Empire State Building from Macy's.jpgBy Carol Faulkner

The theme of this year's Researching New York: Perspectives on Empire State History conference is Religion in New York. "Researching New York" is an annual conference sponsored by the History Department at the State University of New York at Albany and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust. The program for this upcoming conference (November 14-15, register now!) looks fantastic.

The conference features two keynote speakers:

Robert Orsi, Northwestern University, "The Gods of Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York, 1800 to 1950." From the website: New York City is generally thought of as the very epitome of American modernity and so it was—but it was also a rich landscape of religious practice, innovation, and conflict. Virtually every major development in American religious history had, if not its origins in New York, then its most public and extravagant expression.  Religion did not just happen in New York City; it happened through the city, in the media of its streets, shadows, and stoops, and in exchanges among people of all the world's religions. New York has never been a secular city—or perhaps the religious history of New York demands a rethinking of what "secular" means. This lecture invites a rethinking of American urbanism as a profoundly religious reality.


Howard B. Rock, Florida International University, "The Battle for New York." Rock's most recent book is Haven of Liberty, New York Jews in the New World, 1654-1865,  the first of the three-volume City of Promises: A History of the Jews of New York City (New York University Press, 2012), winner of the National Jewish Book Award.

Unsurprisingly, the program includes a number of great panels on religion, too many to include in this blog post, but a few caught my eye:

Joseph Smith and Early Mormonism in New York  
"'Git them Translated": Joseph Smith’s Attempt to Find Scholars to Translate the Characters from the Gold Plates," Michael MacKay, Brigham Young University

“'The Work Is Soon to Be Put to Press in This Village': Joseph Smith’s Negotiations with New York Printers to Publish the Book of Mormon Manuscript, Gerrit Dirkmaat, Joseph Smith Papers Project

"Mormonism in Western New York in 1833," Brent Rogers, Joseph Smith Papers Project

Comment:  Daniel P. Dwyer, Siena College

Great Awakenings  
“'I hear gods work agoing on at long island': Revivalism, Mobility, and the Great Awakening in Colonial New York," Katharine Conwell, Binghamton University

"Opponents of Fire: Antirevivalists in the Burned-Over District," Peter Van Cleave, Arizona State University

"The Second Great Awakening, Shaker Style: The Era of Manifestations," Ann Sayers, The Shaker Heritage Society
Comment:  John Howard Smith, Texas A&M University-Commerce

Ark of Salvation, Den of Iniquity:  The Religious Image of New York 
“'Their Habits Are Loose and Irreligious': Pious New England and Pagan New York, 1795-1820," Jacalyn Eddy, SUNY Geneseo

"Russian Immigrants and Religion: Russian Jews in New York City, 1880s and 1980s," Phyllis Conn, Saint John’s University
"Russian Orthodox Music and Diplomacy: New York’s Saint Nicholas Cathedral Choir (1912-1918),"
Alla Generalow, The University at Arizona

Comment: Nadieszda Kizenko, University at Albany, SUNY

New Yorkish vs. Eastern European: New and Old Rites in New York Jewish Life
"Urban Planning, Public Health and the Rise of the Jewish Undertaker, New York City, 1850-1920,"
Allan Amanik, New York University

"‘A Weapon for Survival’-The Creation of Secular Jewish Ritual in the Postwar U.S.," Jennifer Young, New York University

"Seeing America with Fresh Eyes: Jacob Lestschinsky’s Analysis," Gennady Estraikh, New York University

Comment: Henryk Baran, University at Albany, SUNY


Good stuff - Researching NY is always a great conference, and I wish I could make it home that weekend!

Popular Posts