Historians, including Ken Burns, cite historical parallels between today, the slavery crisis of the 1850s and the anti-Semitism of the 1930s

d r a f t More quotes for my Swedes in Roger Williams’ Garden project — Two disturbing historical parallels in print this week, both suggesting that America faces a more difficult crisis -- more accurately a series of cascading crises -- now than it did in the runup to the Civil War. It's hard to know … Continue reading Historians, including Ken Burns, cite historical parallels between today, the slavery crisis of the 1850s and the anti-Semitism of the 1930s

Creolization: Jingoism v. jambalaya in France (with excerpts from my historical papers on the subject)

France 24, Feb. 15, 2022 Voilà! Turns out an obscure academic term I use in my historical writing got to be a political talking point in this year's French elections. The word is "creolization" (créolisation in French), and it's used by cultural anthropologists to describe the cultural blending in creole societies like those of the … Continue reading Creolization: Jingoism v. jambalaya in France (with excerpts from my historical papers on the subject)

Futures file (Notes & Quotes): Iowa’s nativist ban on foreign languages during World War I

Some first-rate quotes below, from a post on Patheos by a biographer of Swedish-American aviator Charles Lindbergh, on the anti-German hysteria that spilled over and left some Swedish, Norwegian, Czech and other immigrant churches unable to communicate with their parishioners during World War I and its immediate aftermath. I presented a paper on the hysteria, … Continue reading Futures file (Notes & Quotes): Iowa’s nativist ban on foreign languages during World War I

A trail of breadcrumbs in Roger Williams’ garden — short takes on theological hair-splitting, mix-and-match spirituality and an ongoing research project

Cartoon by Man Martin (rpt. Winnipeg Free Press, March 16, 2019) Short takes on a general theme that didn't start to jell until I'd been thinking about it for the better part of a month. It's still not completely jelled -- can we think of it as a Jell-O fruit salad? -- but I think … Continue reading A trail of breadcrumbs in Roger Williams’ garden — short takes on theological hair-splitting, mix-and-match spirituality and an ongoing research project

What can Roger Williams and Swedish Lutherans of the 1850s tell us about the culture wars? A research proposal

Alonzo Chappel, "Landing of Roger Williams," 1857 (Wikimedia Commons) “I have to write to discover what I am doing. Like the old lady, I don't know so well what I think until I see what I say; then I have to say it again.”― Flannery O'Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor, quoted in Goodreads. … Continue reading What can Roger Williams and Swedish Lutherans of the 1850s tell us about the culture wars? A research proposal

Fukuyama on Russia, Trump, ethno-nationalism, religion and other threats to the liberal world order

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwuMMmUCw98 Last month I posted a rather incoherent item saying: (a) I thought some important tectonic plates were shifting with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the Ukrainian resistance to being reabsorbed into a post-Soviet Russian empire; and (b) it might somehow provide a context for writing up some of the historical research I've done in … Continue reading Fukuyama on Russia, Trump, ethno-nationalism, religion and other threats to the liberal world order

A spiritual mutt discovers a common thread in the 10 Commandments and a Buddhist lovingkindness meditation

God's covenant with Noah, Augustana Synod primer, 1919 (Wikimedia Commons). Since Debi and I are co-facilitating a congregational book study group on the Ten Commandments, a recent article on America magazine's website jumped off the screen at me. By associate editor Jim McDermott, it's headlined "Is it time for an 11th commandment?" His answer is … Continue reading A spiritual mutt discovers a common thread in the 10 Commandments and a Buddhist lovingkindness meditation

Timothy Snyder on Ukraine, code-switching, national identit(ies)

d r a f t Timothy Snyder, "Timothy Snyder on the Myths That Blinded the West to Putin's Plans," interview by Ezra Klein, The Ezra Klein Show, New York Times, March 15, 2022 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/15/opinion/ezra-klein-podcast-timothy-snyder.html Verbatim quotes at https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/15/podcasts/transcript-ezra-klein-interviews-timothy-snyder.html: So the way we tell the Second World War is completely inside out, you know, Western Front … Continue reading Timothy Snyder on Ukraine, code-switching, national identit(ies)

For the futures file? Another look at ‘Swedes in Roger Williams’ Garden’ in light of new circumstances

d r a f t In memoriam, Oley the Cat, ca. 2006-March 13, 2022. LTK Seems like the tectonic plates are shifting again, in my life and in the world at large ... In ways that may give a new context for my study of the church-planting stage of Swedish-American immigration and the foundation of … Continue reading For the futures file? Another look at ‘Swedes in Roger Williams’ Garden’ in light of new circumstances

UConn sociology prof explores a multi-faceted backlash against the religious right in the light of religious pluralism

d r a f t A recent article in The Guardian that makes sense of some of the cross-currents roiling today's culture wars. It might also suggest a conceptual framework -- or, at the very least, 21st-century parallels -- for the kind of religious pluralism I find in my study of immigrant Swedish pastors in … Continue reading UConn sociology prof explores a multi-faceted backlash against the religious right in the light of religious pluralism