Saturday, 6 April 2013

Day 3 in Portland

Today is the last full day at the spring ASCH conference. I slept in and then attended the 10:45am-12:00pm session, "How the Bible Works: Scripture and the Body in Nineteenth-Century Religion," with panelists Matthew Bowman, Amanda Hendrix-Komoto, and Cristine Hutchinson-Jones, and Seth Dowland as the chair. In Bowman's paper, "The Word in the Streets: The Biblical Origins of Social Reform in New York, 1880-1900," he argued for the existence of what he called, "liberal evangelicals," which included Harry Emerson Fosdick. I'm not convinced by his argument for liberal evangelicals, but it was an interesting paper. Henrix-Komoto talked about "Christ in the 'Form of a Woman:' Gender, Race, and Joseph Smith's Rejection of Ecstatic Religious Practice," which highlighted the "rational" approach of Mormon men vs. the "emotionalism" of females. Finally, Hutchinston-Jones gave a very insightful paper on "Saving American Womanhood: Biblical Pronouncements in Anti-Catholic and Anti-Mormon Rhetoric in the Nineteenth Century," in which she made a case for the importance of Bibles in the homes of Protestants as a symbol of their Christianity.

After a brown-bag lunch moderated by the ASCH secretary Keith Francis on archival research, I made my way to the 1:45-3:30pm panel where I spoke on "A Pelican in the Wilderness: Charles Nisbet on Pennsylvania Frontier Life" alongside fellow panelists, David Powers, an independent scholar, who spoke on "Preaching on the 'Western' Frontier: What the People of Springfield, Massachusetts Heard in the 1640s," Keith Lyon, a recent PhD graduate from the UT-Knoxville, on "Sacredness and Sociability in God's Brush Arbor: Camp Meeting Culture, 1800-1860," and Keith Beebe of Whitworth University on "Setting the Record Straight: Evangelical Redactions of Religious Experience in Scotland's First Oral History Project." What I appreciated the most was Charlie Scalise's comments after we gave our presentations. Scalise offered a very thoughtful critique of each of our papers. It reminded me of being at a wedding in which the pastor gives a personal charge to the bride and groom.

I was planning on going to the final plenary session and banquet tonight, but I can't pass up watching Michigan play Syracuse. Here's hoping Michigan makes it to the championship game!

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