The Digital History of 19th-Century US Religion

AHA Session 14
American Society of Church History 1
Thursday, January 4, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Columbia 6 (Washington Hilton, Terrace Level)
Maria R. Mazzenga, Catholic University of America
Maria R. Mazzenga, Catholic University of America

Session Abstract

This panel will bring together four scholars of nineteenth-century religion in the United States who are working with digital methods. But this digital history panel will focus on the interpretations to be drawn on the basis of digital methods, rather than on the methods themselves. Sharon Leon will investigate the social networks of people enslaved by the Society of Jesus in Maryland until their sale in 1838, in order to understand that community at both the aggregate and individual levels. Kyle Roberts will visualize the Catholic book trade in the 1840s in the Mississippi and Missouri River valleys, in order to show how the distribution of Catholic print through gift and sale reinforced scattered communities of believers, both clerical and lay, across the nation. Denise Burgher will show how the structures of the African American church were complicated and extended into the intellectual and civil realm through the colored conventions movement of the nineteenth-century. Lincoln Mullen will show how Americans quoted the Bible in newspapers in order to speak to virtually every issue of important in nineteenth-century public life, but also how those issues ended up shaping understandings of the Bible. The paper topics on this panel will therefore intersect on a number of key themes: American Catholicism, the African American religious experience, and the role of sacred texts and print history. This panel will thus demonstrate how digital methods can be used in the study of American religious history by offering interpretations in that field.
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