Antifundamentalism in Modern America by David Harrington WattAntifundamentalism in Modern America by David Harrington Watt

Antifundamentalism in Modern America

byDavid Harrington Watt

Hardcover | May 9, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info

$37.33 online 
$41.95 list price save 11%
Earn 187 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


David Harrington Watt's Antifundamentalism in Modern America gives us a pathbreaking account of the role that the fear of fundamentalism has played—and continues to play—in American culture. Fundamentalism has never been a neutral category of analysis, and Watt scrutinizes the various political purposes that the concept has been made to serve. In 1920, the conservative Baptist writer Curtis Lee Laws coined the word "fundamentalists." Watt examines the antifundamentalist polemics of Harry Emerson Fosdick, Talcott Parsons, Stanley Kramer, and Richard Hofstadter, which convinced many Americans that religious fundamentalists were almost by definition backward, intolerant, and anti-intellectual and that fundamentalism was a dangerous form of religion that had no legitimate place in the modern world. For almost fifty years, the concept of fundamentalism was linked almost exclusively to Protestant Christians. The overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the establishment of an Islamic republic led to a more elastic understanding of the nature of fundamentalism. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Americans became accustomed to using fundamentalism as a way of talking about Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists, as well as Christians. Many Americans came to see Protestant fundamentalism as an expression of a larger phenomenon that was wreaking havoc all over the world. Antifundamentalism in Modern America is the first book to provide an overview of the way that the fear of fundamentalism has shaped U.S. culture, and it will lead readers to rethink their understanding of what fundamentalism is and what it does.

David Harrington Watt teaches at Haverford College, where he is the Douglas and Dorothy Steere Professor of Quaker Studies. He is the author of Bible-Carrying Christians: Conservative Protestants and Social Power and A Transforming Faith: Explorations of Twentieth-Century American Evangelicalism and coeditor of Fundamentalism: Perspect...
Title:Antifundamentalism in Modern AmericaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.94 inPublished:May 9, 2017Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801448271

ISBN - 13:9780801448270

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

Introduction: Putting Fundamentalism to Work1. Skeptics2. Defenders3. The First Fundamentalists4. Invention5. Ratification6. The Dustbin of History7. Reinvention8. ZenithConclusion: The Future of Fundamentalism

Editorial Reviews

"David Harrington Watt's expertly researched and refreshingly straightforward book is an essential contribution both to public and policy debates about religion in the twenty-first century and to the study of the history of comparative religion."

- Courtney Bender, author of The New Metaphysicals