Maps allow for a kind of immersive wandering, yet at the same time reminding us of our distance from that which we contemplate—this is an essential caution for considering any maps of American religion. Read Spencer Drew’s fascinating essay on mapping contemporary American religion here at Religion Dispatches: Let’s Get Lost: Mapping Religion in the 21st Century | Religion Dispatches
Livia Gershon summarizes the historical work of Michael A. Gomez on the first Muslims in what became the United States: slaves. Read Gershon’s post here at JSTOR Daily: The Lost History of Early Muslim Americans
Some good news here about the Smithsonian, thanks to John Fea’s post.
Here is the press release:
The role of religion in the formation and development of the United States is at the heart of a new multiyear initiative launching at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Nov. 5. Beginning with a program series on sacred music in American life, this comprehensive religion initiative will be led by Peter Manseau, who has been named the museum’s Lilly Endowment Curator of American Religious History. It will include collecting, researching, documenting and exhibiting materials as well as presenting programs reflective of the country’s diverse religious traditions.
A $5 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. provides for a permanent curator of religion in the museum’s Home and Community Life division and a five-year multifaceted program consisting…
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Acquaintance John Fea, a historian at Messiah College, has a nice essay on American religious history at the American Association for State and Local History. You can read it here: Why Religious History is Essential to a Thriving Democracy | AASLH Blogs
Upon accepting the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Muslim writer Navid Kermani tackled some contested questions. Syria and Iraq, persecuted Christians, the true nature of Islam: Will Western Christians respond, or stay indifferent?