University of Chicago historian Brekus (Strangers and Pilgrims) brings together 12 innovative and engaging essays about women and religion in U.S. history. Several authors treat Catholic women and race: Emily Clark introduces nuns who evangelized slaves in 18th-century New Orleans, and Amy Koehlinger contextualizes white nuns' civil rights activism in the story of the postconciliar reform of religious orders. Many essays make methodological or theoretical points that have broad applications to historical scholarship. Janet Moore Lindman looks beyond churches to find women's spirituality, arguing that women's letter writing, good works and attendance at funerals are meaningful acts of piety that historians may miss if they keep their eyes trained on "the meetinghouse." Susanna Morrill, in a fascinating piece on Mormon women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reads popular literature as a key to women's theological discourses. A few of the essays are less original-Pamela Nadell's article on women in American Judaism, for example, makes the uncontroversial claim that it is important to "emphasize women's agency" and to see women as "historical actors" in their own right. The academics and students who will likely make up this volume's main audience are in for a treat. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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