Secularism In Antebellum America by John Lardas Modern

Secularism In Antebellum America

byJohn Lardas Modern

Paperback | December 1, 2015

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Ghosts. Railroads. Sing Sing. Sex machines. These are just a few of the phenomena that appear in John Lardas Modern’s pioneering account of religion and society in nineteenth-century America. This book uncovers surprising connections between secular ideology and the rise of technologies that opened up new ways of being religious. Exploring the eruptions of religion in New York’s penny presses, the budding fields of anthropology and phrenology, and Moby-Dick, Modern challenges the strict separation between the religious and the secular that remains integral to discussions about religion today.

Modern frames his study around the dread, wonder, paranoia, and manic confidence of being haunted, arguing that experiences and explanations of enchantment fueled secularism’s emergence. The awareness of spectral energies coincided with attempts to tame the unruly fruits of secularism—in the cultivation of a spiritual self among Unitarians, for instance, or in John Murray Spear’s erotic longings for a perpetual motion machine. Combining rigorous theoretical inquiry with beguiling historical arcana, Modern unsettles long-held views of religion and the methods of narrating its past.

About The Author

John Lardas Modern is associate professor and chair of religious studies at Franklin and Marshall College. He is the author of The Bop Apocalypse: The Religious Visions of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs.

Details & Specs

Title:Secularism In Antebellum AmericaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:December 1, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022632513X

ISBN - 13:9780226325132

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“Masterful. . . . [A] field-shifting book.”