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The Religious History of American WomenReimagining the Past$
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Catherine A. Brekus

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780807831021

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807867990_brekus

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Introduction Searching for Women in Narratives of American Religious History

Introduction Searching for Women in Narratives of American Religious History

(p.1) Introduction Searching for Women in Narratives of American Religious History
The Religious History of American Women

Catherine A. Brekus

University of North Carolina Press

This book explains why it is necessary to include women in narratives of religious history in America, with emphasis on how women's history transforms our understanding of the nation's religious past. More specifically, it considers why American religious historians should study the lives of women as well as of men, or how they would write about Puritans if they explored the lives of women as well as of men. Furthermore, the book examines how historians would tell the story of Judaism, witchcraft, Mormonism, the origins of the Catholic Church in the United States, or the women's rights movement. In her 1997 essay, “Women's History Is American Religious History,” Ann Braude argues how serious attention to women's history undermines declension, feminization, and secularization—three of the central themes that structure current interpretations of American religious history. Building on Braude's insights, this book presents case studies of particular groups and events, and raises challenging questions about traditional narrative frameworks.

Keywords:   religious history, women's history, women, Judaism, witchcraft, Mormonism, Catholic Church, United States, women's rights movement, Ann Braude

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