Devotions and Desires: Histories of Sexuality and Religion in the Twentieth-Century United States

Devotions and Desires: Histories of Sexuality and Religion in the Twentieth-Century United States

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At a moment when "freedom of religion" rhetoric fuels public debate, it is easy to assume that sex and religion have faced each other in pitched battle throughout modern U.S. history. Yet, by tracking the nation's changing religious and sexual landscapes over the twentieth century, this book challenges that zero-sum account of sexuality locked in a struggle with religion. It shows that religion played a central role in the history of sexuality in the United States, shaping sexual politics, communities, and identities. At the same time, sexuality has left lipstick traces on American religious history. From polyamory to pornography, from birth control to the AIDS epidemic, this book follows religious faiths and practices across a range of sacred spaces: rabbinical seminaries, African American missions, Catholic schools, pagan communes, the YWCA, and much more. What emerges is the shared story of religion and sexuality and how both became wedded to American culture and politics.

The volume, framed by a provocative introduction by Gillian Frank, Bethany Moreton, and Heather R. White and a compelling afterword by John D'Emilio, features essays by Rebecca T. Alpert and Jacob J. Staub, Rebecca L. Davis, Lynne Gerber, Andrea R. Jain, Kathi Kern, Rachel Kranson, James P. McCartin, Samira K. Mehta, Daniel Rivers, Whitney Strub, Aiko Takeuchi-Demirci, Judith Weisenfeld, and Neil J. Young.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781469636276
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 02/06/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Gillian Frank is visiting fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. Bethany Moreton is professor of history at Dartmouth College. Heather R. White is visiting assistant professor in religion and queer studies at the University of Puget Sound.

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From the Publisher

I am struck by the originality, precision, and importance of this volume, which builds on the latest scholarship on U.S. religion and sexuality and will push the fields of history, religious studies, American studies, and other areas toward fuller and much-needed consideration of the nexus of sexuality and religion. My enthusiasm for the book is boundless.—Julie Byrne, Hofstra University

Hallelujah! Historians of sexuality and historians of religion are writing their entangled histories, and setting aside repression and rebellion as the primary frameworks for understanding as they do. This pathbreaking volume will spark conversation and spur research.—Margot Canaday, Princeton University

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