Religion in the North American West

The Williams P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art will examine religion in the North American West in a two-part symposium to workshop their papers leading to an edited volume. The symposium and resulting volume will examine the religious, spiritual, and secular histories of the Trans-Mississippi West, focusing on the West(s) created by the contact of settler-colonists, migrants, and indigenous peoples from the 16th to 21st centuries. Participants include:

* Jim Bennett (Santa Clara University), “The West Coast Origins of the Modern Anticult Movement”;
* Carleigh Beriont (Harvard University), “Expanding ‘the American West’: Religion and United States Empire from the Perspective of the Postwar Pacific”; 
* Tom Bremer (Rhodes College), "Icons of Whiteness: National Parks in the Religious Imagination of Whitestream America"; 
* Lynne Gerber (Independent Scholar), “Religion, AIDS, and Healing in San Francisco, 1981-1996”; 
* Jen Graber (University of Texas-Austin), “Ghost Dance”; 
* Maxwell Greenberg (Washington-St. Louis University), “’Dedicated to the Jewish Pioneers’: Racializing Religious Space and the Politics of Memory in the Sonoran Desert”;
* Brennan Keegan  (College of Charleston), “No Eden: The Religious Geographies of the American West”; 
* Nicole Kirk (Meadville Lombard Theological School), “Railroading Religion: American Religion on the Move”; 
* Andrew Klumpp (State Historical Society of Iowa), “Dutch Calvinist Imperials in the Trans-Mississippi West: Dispossession, Community Building, and Global Engagement in the Nineteenth Century”; 
* Chrissy Yee Lau (California State University-Monterey Bay), “The Japanese Episcopal Mission.”
* Quincy D. Newell (Hamilton College), “Religious Responses to the 1918 flu epidemic in the West”; 
* Joshua Paddison (
Texas State University), “Fountaingrove, ‘Cults,’ and the American West” 

Participants will meet twice to present and workshop their papers: once at SMU’s satellite campus in Taos, New Mexico, in the fall of 2022, and a second time at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, in spring 2023.  Conference co-conveners, Brandi Denison (University of North Florida) and Brett Hendrickson (Lafayette College) will edit the papers and convene the workshops.  

For more information about the symposium, contact the conference co-conveners or the Clements Center for Southwest Studies.

Image: Jose Rafael Aragon (Colonial Spanish American santero, ca. 1896-1862). San Jose Retablo, ca. 1830-1840; ponderosa pine board, water-based paints, hide.  Courtesy of the Eiteljorg Museum.