Possible OAH 2005 Panel -- Religion and the American West
Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting
San Francisco, CA
31 March -- 3 April 2005
The American West Coast, especially California, is renowned for its religious pluralism, even more so than the rest of the continental United States. Although leading Protestant denominations sought to control California civic society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, their efforts proved unsuccessful. In histories of American religion, California figures most prominently in the rise of pentecostalism, eastern religions, New Age movements, and Mexican American Catholicism. California also became a center of evangelical Protestantism, launching the careers of such figures and institutions as Charles Fuller, Henrietta Mears, Billy Graham, Bill Bright, and Robert Schuller. Does the intense religious pluralism of California reflect,accentuate, or in some ways contradict larger western or national trends? Are there factors beyond California's ethnic heterogeneity that help explain its religious heritage? How did Californians or other westerners view their state / region through the lens of their faith?
This panel seeks papers that examine aspects of western religion and reflect on the above questions. Please send a one-page abstract of your paper and a one-page vitae by January 12, 2004, via email.
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