Matching Items (30)

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Staying Jewish in America: 19th Century German-Jewish Migration

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Between 1820 and 1875, the United States saw a surge in German-Jewish immigration. This wave of immigration brought Jews that were eager to adapt Judaism to their modern lives in

Between 1820 and 1875, the United States saw a surge in German-Jewish immigration. This wave of immigration brought Jews that were eager to adapt Judaism to their modern lives in a rational and accessible way. The challenge in America, however, was maintaining the desire to be Jewish and practice Judaism within a societal context that did not require them to be Jewish. The adoption of Reform Judaism in the 19th century amongst German-Jewish immigrants helped these new immigrants remain faithful and proud to be Jewish in within their new American lives. Furthermore, Reform Judaism helped these determined Jews balance their Jewish identities within the context of American society and culture.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Creating New Orleans: race, religion, rhetoric, and the Louisiana Purchase

Description

Though some scholars have written about place and history, few have pursued the use of place theory in length in relation to the connections between race, religion, and national identity.

Though some scholars have written about place and history, few have pursued the use of place theory in length in relation to the connections between race, religion, and national identity. Using the writings in the United States and Louisiana in the years surrounding the Louisiana Purchase, I explore place-making and othering processes. U.S. leaders influenced by the Second Great Awakening viewed New Orleans as un-American in its religion and seemingly ambiguous race relations. New Orleanian Catholics viewed the U.S. as an aggressively Protestant place that threatened the stability of the Catholic Church in the Louisiana Territory. Both Americans and New Orleanians constructed the place identities of the other in relation to events in Europe and the Caribbean, demonstrating that places are constructed in relation to one another. In order to elucidate these dynamics, I draw on place theory, literary analysis, and historical anthropology in analyzing the letters of W.C.C. Claiborne, the first U.S. governor of the Louisiana Territory, in conjunction with sermons of prominent Protestant ministers Samuel Hopkins and Jedidiah Morse, a letter written by Ursuline nun Sister Marie Therese de St. Xavior Farjon to Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington Cable's Reconstruction era novel The Grandissimes. All of these parties used the notion of place to create social fact that was bound up with debates about race and anti-Catholic sentiments. Furthermore, their treatments of place demonstrate concerns for creating, or resisting absorption by, a New Republic that was white and Protestant. Place theory proves useful in clarifying how Americans and New Orleanians viewed the Louisiana Purchase as well as the legacy of those ideas. It demonstrates the ways in which the U.S. defined itself in contradistinction to religious others. Limitations arise, however, depending on the types of sources historians use. While official government letters reveal much when put into the context of the trends in American religion at the turn of the nineteenth century, they are not as clearly illuminating as journals and novels. In these genres, authors provide richer detail from which historians can try to reconstruct senses of place.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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The impact of religious studies courses: measuring change in undergraduate attitudes

Description

In the current context of fiscal austerity as well as neo-colonial criticisms, the discipline of religious studies has been challenged to critically assess its teaching methods as well as articulate

In the current context of fiscal austerity as well as neo-colonial criticisms, the discipline of religious studies has been challenged to critically assess its teaching methods as well as articulate its relevance in the modern university setting. Responding to these needs, this dissertation explores the educational outcomes on undergraduate students as a result of religious studies curriculum. This research employs a robust quantitative methodology designed to assess the impact of the courses while controlling for a number of covariates. Based on data collected from pre- and post-course surveys of a combined 1,116 students enrolled at Arizona State University (ASU) and two area community colleges, the research examines student change across five outcomes: attributional complexity, multi-religious awareness, commitment to social justice, individual religiosity, and the first to be developed, neo-colonial measures. The sample was taken in the Fall of 2009 from courses including Religions of the World, introductory Islamic studies courses, and a control group consisting of engineering and political science students. The findings were mixed. From the "virtues of the humanities" standpoint, select within group changes showed a statistically significant positive shift, but when compared across groups and the control group, there were no statistically significant findings after controlling for key variables. The students' pre-course survey score was the best predictor of their post-course survey score. In response to the neo-colonial critiques, the non-findings suggest the critiques have been overstated in terms of their impact pedagogically or in the classroom.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Living relationships with the past: remembering communism in Romania

Description

In the countries of Eastern Europe, the recent history of the communist regimes creates a context rich in various and often times contradictory remembering practices. While normative discourses of memory

In the countries of Eastern Europe, the recent history of the communist regimes creates a context rich in various and often times contradictory remembering practices. While normative discourses of memory enacted in official forms of memory such as museums, memorials, monuments, or commemorative rituals attempt to castigate the communism in definite terms, remembering practices enacted in everyday life are more ambiguous and more tolerant of various interpretations of the communist past. This study offers a case study of the ways in which people remember communism in everyday life in Romania. While various inquiries into Eastern Europe's and also Romania's official and intentional forms of memorializing communism abound, few works address remembering practices in their entanglements with everyday life. From a methodological point of view, this study integrates a grounded methodology approach with a rhetorical sensitivity to explore the discourses, objects, events, and practices of remembering communism in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. In doing so, this inquiry attends not only to the aspects of the present that animate the remembering of communism, but also and more specifically to the set of practices by which the remembering process is performed. The qualitative analysis revealed a number of conceptual categories that clustered around three major themes that describe the entanglements of remembering activities with everyday life. Relating the present to the past, sustaining the past in the present, and pursuing the communist past constitute the ways in which people in Romania live their relationships with the communist past in a way that reveals the complex interplay between private and public forms of memory, but also between the political, social, and cultural aspects of the remembering process. These themes also facilitate a holistic understanding of the rhetorical environment of remembering communism in Romania.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Converts and controversies -- becoming an American Jew

Description

Conversion to Judaism has a long history, and changes in Jewish law for converts over the centuries have reflected changes in the relationship between the Jewish community and the larger

Conversion to Judaism has a long history, and changes in Jewish law for converts over the centuries have reflected changes in the relationship between the Jewish community and the larger societies within which Jews have lived. As American Jews now live in the most open society they have encountered, a split is developing between Orthodox and liberal Jewish rabbinic authorities in how they deal with potential converts. This split is evident in books written to advice potential converts and in conversion narratives by people who have converted to Judaism. For this project over 30 people who were in the process of converting to Judaism were interviewed. Their stories reflect the ways in which liberal Judaism has been affected by American ideals and values, including feminism and an emphasis on spiritual individuality.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Ambivalent blood: religion, AIDS, and American culture

Description

Ambivalent Blood examines the unsettled status of religious language in the semiotic construction of HIV/AIDS in America. Since public discourse about HIV/AIDS began in 1981, a variety of religious grammars

Ambivalent Blood examines the unsettled status of religious language in the semiotic construction of HIV/AIDS in America. Since public discourse about HIV/AIDS began in 1981, a variety of religious grammars have been formulated, often at cross-purposes, to assign meaning to the epidemic. The disease's complex interaction with religion has been used to prophesize looming apocalypses, both religious and national, demand greater moral solicitude among the citizenry, forge political advantage within America's partisan political landscape, mobilize empathy and compassion for those stricken by the disease, and construct existential meaning for those who have already been consigned to physical and social death. Several studies fruitfully have explored specific registers of religious discourse and the AIDS epidemic, particularly in regard to processes of social stigmatization and combating its very effects. However, assumptions about the secular aims of scientific inquiry as well as the presumably secular trajectory of American national culture have dampened a more robust consideration of religion within the history of HIV/AIDS. In most synoptic histories of AIDS, religion is constructed as either a wincing footnote to the Religious Right or as an occasional and bland example of salubrious Christian charity posed against the backdrop of disease and death. Ambivalent Blood seeks to extend such analysis beyond a digestible footnote by disinterring the often polysemous and ambivalent interaction of HIV/AIDS and religious discourses within American culture. Though not a historiographic work, the current project illuminates the complicated ways in which religious and HIV/AIDS discourses coalesced around the very definition of America itself. Like the Cold War that preceded and the Global War on Terror that followed, the AIDS crisis precipitated significant and contested recourse to the religious imaginary in the effort to forge conceptions of Americanness and citizen belonging.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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The development of Iraqi Shiʼa mourning rituals in modern Iraq: the ʻAshurā rituals and visitation of Al-Arbʻain

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This study is based on a submission of anthropological, historical, and literary approaches. The ethnographic study of the Shi'a holy shrines between November 2011 and January 2012 is based on

This study is based on a submission of anthropological, historical, and literary approaches. The ethnographic study of the Shi'a holy shrines between November 2011 and January 2012 is based on my visit to Iraq. The study lasted almost ten weeks, to include the two events under discussion: `Ashurā and Al-Arb`ain, in Karbala of that year. This thesis argues that the mourning rituals of `Ashurā and the Forty Day Visitation Zyarat Al-Arb`ain contribute to the social or individual life of Iraqi Shi'a. They also make significant contributions through creating a symbolic language to communicate for the community, as well as communicating with their essential symbolic structure. Second, the Forty Day Visitation Zyarat Al-Arb`ain is one of the most significant collective mourning rituals, one that expresses unity and solidarity of the Iraqi Shi'a community, and helps them to represent their collective power, and maintain their collective existence. This study uses two of Victor Turner's tripartite models. For `Ashurā the rite of passage rituals is used, which consists of the separation, margin, and re-aggregation phase. Through this process of entering and leaving time and social structure, it helps in changing the social status of the participants. The other model used for Al-Arb`ain is pilgrimage as a social process, which includes three levels of communitas: existential, normative, and ideological communitas. The Shi'a in Iraq are holding a position similar to Turner's notion of communitas since they are living within a society that is Muslim and yet even though they are a larger population of the society, they still become marginalized by the Sunni population socially, economically, and politically. Social relations and links play a significant role for Shi'a in `Ashurā and Al-Arb`ain as a reflection between their social status as an undefined communitas and the general structure of Iraqi society.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Noaidi - the one who sees: bringing to light the religious experience among the 17th-18th century Sámi

Description

The ancient religious practices and beliefs of the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, known as the Sámi, have been misrepresented and misinterpreted by well meaning ethnographers and researchers who view

The ancient religious practices and beliefs of the indigenous people of Northern Scandinavia, known as the Sámi, have been misrepresented and misinterpreted by well meaning ethnographers and researchers who view such practices and beliefs through an Descartes-Cartesian, objective-subjective lens. This thesis develops a more accurate, intersubjective paradigm that is used to illuminate more clearly the religious workings of the 17th-18th Century Sámi. Drawing upon the intersubjective theories presented by A. Irving Hallowell, Tim Ingold and Kenneth Morrison, ethnographic examples from the writings of early Lutheran missionaries and priests demonstrate that the Sámi lived in a world that can be best understood by the employ of the categories of Person (ontology), Power (epistemology) and Gift (axiology).

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Polygamy, Prop 8, and the peculiar people: sexuality in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Description

This dissertation addresses the issue of sexuality in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormon Church, on both the institutional and individual levels.

This dissertation addresses the issue of sexuality in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormon Church, on both the institutional and individual levels. It traces the ways that the LDS Church's early persecution over polygamy, and the enduring effects of this history - both within and outside the Church - have helped to shape contemporary Mormon policies and public actions related to sexuality and marriage. Despite its relative success in achieving assimilation with the larger American society, the LDS Church continues to be associated with the practice of polygamy, creating a need for the Church to prove its adherence to traditional marriage and sexual norms. This work analyzes Mormon involvement in recent political campaigns against same-sex marriage, especially the campaign to pass Proposition 8 in California. This political participation has provided LDS leaders with significant opportunities to reshape their Church's public image, to improve relationships between Mormons and other conservative Christian communities, and to position the Church in a particular way in the American religious landscape. The dissertation also examines official LDS policies related to homosexuality and homosexual persons, and individual accounts of gay and lesbian Mormons and former Mormons (and those that do not identify as gay but experience same-sex attraction), found in personal blogs, Youtube videos, and published volumes. Elements of Mormon theology related to marriage, gender, premortality, and revelation, combined with aspects of LDS Church history, structure, and culture, make the experiences of these individuals unique among those of gays and lesbian in conservative Christian communities.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Mormonism and the new spirituality: LDS women's hybrid spiritualities

Description

This dissertation illuminates overlaps in Mormonism and the New Spirituality in North America, showing their shared history and epistemologies. As example of these connections, it introduces ethnographic data from women

This dissertation illuminates overlaps in Mormonism and the New Spirituality in North America, showing their shared history and epistemologies. As example of these connections, it introduces ethnographic data from women who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in order to show (a) how living LDS women adapt and integrate elements from the New Spirituality with Mormon ideas about the nature of reality into hybrid spiritualities; and (b) how they negotiate their blended religious identities both in relation to the current American New Spirituality milieu and the highly centralized, hierarchical, and patriarchal Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The study focuses on religious hybridity with an emphasis on gender and the negotiation of power deriving from patriarchal religious authority, highlighting the dance between institutional power structures and individual authority. It illuminates processes and discourses of religious adaptation and synthesis through which these LDS women creatively and provocatively challenge LDS Church formal power structures.

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Date Created
  • 2012