Railroading Religion: Mormons, Tourists, And The Corporate Spirit Of The West by David WalkerRailroading Religion: Mormons, Tourists, And The Corporate Spirit Of The West by David Walker

Railroading Religion: Mormons, Tourists, And The Corporate Spirit Of The West

byDavid Walker

Paperback | September 30, 2019

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Railroads, tourism, and government bureaucracy combined to create modern religion in the American West, argues David Walker in this innovative study of Mormonism's ascendency in the railroad era. The center of his story is Corinne, Utah-an end-of-the-track, hell-on-wheels railroad town founded by anti-Mormon businessmen. In the disputes over this town's frontier survival, Walker discovers intense efforts by a variety of theological, political, and economic interest groups to challenge or secure Mormonism's standing in the West. Though Corinne's founders hoped to leverage industrial capital to overthrow Mormon theocracy, the town became the site of a very different dream.

Economic and political victory in the West required the production of knowledge about different religious groups settling in its lands. As ordinary Americans advanced their own theories about Mormondom, they contributed to the rise of religion itself as a category of popular and scholarly imagination. At the same time, new and advantageous railroad-related alliances catalyzed LDS Church officials to build increasingly dynamic religious institutions. Through scrupulous research and wide-ranging theoretical engagement, Walker shows that western railroads did not eradicate or diminish Mormon power. To the contrary, railroad promoters helped establish Mormonism as a normative American religion.

David Walker is assistant professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Title:Railroading Religion: Mormons, Tourists, And The Corporate Spirit Of The WestFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:352 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inShipping dimensions:9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:September 30, 2019Publisher:The University Of North Carolina PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1469653206

ISBN - 13:9781469653204


Editorial Reviews

David Walker's 'mainlining' of Mormonism in relation to the development of the transcontinental railroad is creative and innovative both in how he uses historical sources and how he considers theoretical concerns relating to religion and secularism. Railroading Religion brings together Mormon history, the history of religion in the West, and-pivoting around the intriguing town of Corinne, Utah-the history of railroads and economic development in America more broadly."- Richard J. Callahan Jr., author of Work and Faith in the Kentucky Coal Fields: Subject to Dust