Hindoos, Hindus, Spelling, and Theory

What is the relationship between spelling and theory? I often tell people my research is about "Hinduism in nineteenth century America." But it's really not. It's not about Hinduism at all. It can't be because the idea of "Hinduism," a world religion comparable to other world religions, isn't invented until the late nineteenth century. That's … Continue reading Hindoos, Hindus, Spelling, and Theory

The Metaphysics of the Internet; or Can Lydia Maria Child’s Ghost Read My Comment?

I'm in the midst of the metaphysical chunk of my dissertation. In these two chapters I examine how American writers in the middle of the nineteenth century looked to India for sources to build religious alternatives to orthodox Protestantism. Thoreau, Emerson, Blavatzky, all the usual suspects are there. Today I'm working on the writings of … Continue reading The Metaphysics of the Internet; or Can Lydia Maria Child’s Ghost Read My Comment?

Methodists and India: Mapping, Contact, and Travel in the Christian Advocate, 1860-1890

As I posted last week, this weekend I presented a paper on the topic of Methodist Media to the American Society of Church History at this year's American Historical Association meeting. Below is my paper from the panel. Methodists and India: Mapping, Contact and Travel in the Christian Advocate, 1860-1890 Michael J. Altman, Emory University … Continue reading Methodists and India: Mapping, Contact, and Travel in the Christian Advocate, 1860-1890

Peter Berger, “Easternizing Spirituality,” and the Colonial Difference

In case you haven't stumbled upon it yet, sociologist Peter Berger has a new blog, Religion Other Curiosities, at the American Interest Online. It's a great blog and worth checking out on a regular basis. Berger has keen insights into Religion and culture and it's great that he's decided to jump into the blogosphere. (EDIT- … Continue reading Peter Berger, “Easternizing Spirituality,” and the Colonial Difference

William James and the Divorce Between Science and Religion

Cross Posted at Religion in American History William James has always interested me because I've often wondered why his brand of knowledge production never took off. Jonathan Rée has a great piece on William James that I found thanks to Ralph E. Luker.  As a whole, the article is a thoughtful review of James' life … Continue reading William James and the Divorce Between Science and Religion