Religion and the Marketplace in the United States

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9780199361809: Religion and the Marketplace in the United States

Alexis de Tocqueville once described the national character of Americans as one question insistently asked: "How much money will it bring in?" G.K. Chesterton, a century later, described America as a "nation with a soul of a church." At first glance, the two observations might appear to be diametrically opposed, but this volume shows the ways in which American religion and American business overlap and interact with one another, defining the US in terms of religion, and religion in terms of economics.

Bringing together original contributions by leading experts and rising scholars from both America and Europe, the volume pushes this field of study forward by examining the ways religions and markets in relationship can provide powerful insights and open unseen aspects into both. In essays ranging from colonial American mercantilism to modern megachurches, from literary markets to popular festivals, the authors explore how religious behavior is shaped by commerce, and how commercial practices are informed by religion. By focusing on what historians often use off-handedly as a metaphor or analogy, the volume offers new insights into three varieties of relationships: religion and the marketplace, religion in the marketplace, and religion as the marketplace. Using these categories, the contributors test the assumptions scholars have come to hold, and offer deeper insights into religion and the marketplace in America.

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About the Author:


Jan Stievermann is Professor of the History of Christianity in the U.S. at Heidelberg University.

Philip Goff is Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies, Indiana University Indianapolis.

Detlef Junker is Professor of History Emeritus at Heidelberg University, and Founding Director of the Heidelberg Center for American Studies.

Anthony Santoro is Lecturer in American religious history at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies.

Daniel Silliman is Lecturer in American religious history at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies.

Review:


"Religion and the Marketplace should be received as a welcome addition to the renewed interest in religion and political economy among cultural historians This is a highly recommended collection that will undoubtedly serve as an excellent primer for those unfamiliar with the topic, as well as for scholars seeking a concise summation of the field."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion


"Offers a number of thoughtful, nuanced expositions of the daily interactions between religious actors and the economy."--Religion in American History


"Religion and the Marketplace in the United States offers a sophisticated and timely overview of the historical alliances between religious ideas and practices, on the one hand, and the variety of economic activities animating American life, on the other. Never losing sight of the contemporary relevance of this subject, a star lineup of scholars weighs in on the complexities, nuances, and historical contingencies of buying, selling, praying, and preaching. This volume furthers a much-needed scholarly discussion at a critical moment." --Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis


"...[T]his volume provides a timely overview of the connection between religion and the marketplace in modern America." --CHOICE


"Through the use of interviews, autobiographies, news reports, and psychology/sociology journals centering on the study of religion, the examination of the ways religion and markets exist in relationship can open previously unseen aspects of both...this collection certainly gives the reader new insights into televangelists and other prosperity gospel preachers!"--International Social Science Review


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