In 1870, three-quarters of the United States lived in rural areas; by 1920, over half the nation lived in cities. How, if at all, did religious communities change their inherited traditions in the midst of new surroundings? This collection considers the experiences of Chicago's Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant communities at the turn of the twentieth century. In doing so, it highlights not only how diverse religious traditions engaged the city differently, but also how the urban encounter yield diverse reactions within the city's faith communities as well.
The documents highlighted in this small collection all share a common geographical placement within Georgia. For some, there is a closer association with Atlanta. Our goal in selecting these documents has been to provide a tool for our students in their efforts to study religion in the region served by Georgia Perimeter College. We are hopeful that the material will illustrate religious diversity in the region and inspire students to locate additional resources, which may be added to a linked collection housed at GPC in the future. Thus, we view the current project as the initial phase in what will become a significant resource for the study of religion in Atlanta.
Islam has been a part of the United States since its founding. From the devotions of enslaved Muslims to the writings of West African travelers, Islam has touched America in myriad ways. And with the change in the nation's immigration laws after 1965, this influence has become even more substantial. Muslims now find representation in nearly every sphere of America's culture and political life, and vibrant Islamic communities can now be found in nearly every major city. The items in this collection approach Islam's influence upon America from a number of angles. Each documents the presence of Muslim actors or Islamic themes in American art, literature, history or culture. All of them, however, document Islam's longstanding impact upon America's Heartland.
The first half of the nineteenth century was an era of unparalleled religious growth and creativity. Nearly every established Protestant denomination saw their numbers rapidly increase after extended revival services lead by charismatic evangelists had yielded thousands of new congregations with tens of thousands of new converts. At the same time, entirely new religious communities, traditions, and practices emerged to compliment the increase in traditional Christianity. Yet while it was generative, this era of religious expansion was anything but peaceful. The rapid proliferation of broadly Protestant congregations or societies engendered a fierce competition for members, while the arrival of novel theologies led to charges of heresy or damnation. The documents collected here provide a glimpse into this spiritual cauldron. They include profiles of some of the era's most famous, and infamous, preachers, as well as histories of even the smallest religious sect.
Chicago seemed to be the center of the world in 1893. That summer the city hosted the World's Columbian Exposition, an international celebration organized by the United States Congress to commemorate the four-hundredth anniversary of Christopher Columbus's landing upon North America. Organizers intended the event to display America's supposedly unrivaled political, economic, and artistic progress. But the exposition also became a moment to discuss the nature of America's religious progress as well. Near the Exposition's end hundreds of ministers, clerics, and religious leaders from across the globe also gathered in Chicago for what they called the World's Parliament of Religions. Intended to promote religious dialogue and cooperation among the world's largest faith traditions, the Parliament became a stage upon which many of the tensions that continue to define the globe's social and cultural life first emerged. The documents in this collection provide a sense of the Parliament's aspirations, as well as its unintended consequences.
In 1630 English Puritan John Winthrop declared the Massachusetts Bay Colony he and his brethren should work to be as a "city upon a hill," a religious community whose harmonious relations would exalt the God they served. But Winthrop's vision of a holy society was not the only one for North America. In fact, the Puritan vision of a "city upon a hill" was not even the first. A century earlier Fransciscan friars from Spain had settled parts of what would later become the state of New Mexico in an attempt to turn the region's Native American communities into outposts of Spain's Catholic Church. As early as 1539, Franciscans had accompanied Spanish conquistadores in building missions among the indigenous communities of the Zuni and Hopi. What followed was more than a century of occasionally violent religious contact, conflict, and exchange. The documents collected here provide an introduction to the major themes and turning points of the Franciscan attempt to convert the American Southwest.
Chicago has long been a site of religious contact. From the Jesuit missionaries who first made contact with the region's native communities in the seventeenth century through the many ethnicities and nationalities that call the city home today, Chicago has in many ways been defined by its religious diversity. The documents here provide a comparative collection of Chicago's religious past. Covering the arrival of the Jesuits upon Potawatomi territory in the seventeenth century, the arrival of European immigrants in an American city throughout the nineteenth century, and the ongoing tensions that can emerge from the more recent arrival of Eastern religious traditions into a predominantly Christian communities, the collection unveils the many ways in which America's social, political, and religious history intersect and overlap.
This collection began as an introduction to Native American textiles for students enrolled in a survey of art history from the Baroque to the modern period, but it quickly became obvious that a straightforward compilation of images for the students would not address the challenges of studying Native American art and artists. Indeed, this packet presents four relatively contemporary examples of art in order for students to consider in detail a few specific questions, including the questions of authenticity in Native American art, the idea of the commodification of images, the solidification of aesthetic norms, the questions of artistic and cultural identity and the tensions between art and religion in select indigenous groups. The four representative examples include: Oscar Howe and his Philbrook episode, the Nėret-Minet auction of Puebla artifacts, Jeffrey Gibson and his recent success, and the arts and crafts movement in America.