"Fascinating insights into modern urban religious practice make Orsi's collection a must-read." Publishers Weekly
"The essays provide insight into the cultural creativity, reinterpretation of worship and religious ingenuity of city people over the last 50 years." Library Journal
"At last, a major dissection of the great mystery in modern Americanlife how religion and spirituality prospered amidst industrialization,urbanization, and rampant technological change after 1880!" Jon Butler, Yale University
"Urban religion" strikes many as an oxymoron. How can religion thrive in the alienated, secular, fast-paced, and materialistic world of the modern, Western city? The authors in this collection believe that cities not only can provide the settings for religious expression, but also are material to the experiences which give rise to those religious expressions. In this book, they explore the distinctly urban forms of religious experience and practice that have developed in relation to the spaces, social conditions, and history of American cities.
Twentieth-century U.S. cities are the setting as Orsi (religious studies, Indiana Univ.) expands our understanding of religious life and sacred space through these compiled essays. Orsi provides an outline of the urbanization of America and the pluralism that resulted from diaspora nationalism set against the dynamic engagement of various religious traditions. As his selections show, city people live through their environment and create a distinct religious sense that is fluid and changing in terms of geography, architecture, and social issues. Karen McCarthy addresses the Haitian immigrants and their ability to recraft their Vodou religious in the middle of concrete jungles. Joanne Punzo Waghorne addresses the creation of the first Hindu Sri Siva-Vishnu Temple in Maryland and the associated problems in adapting the facility. Other essays address Afro-Cuban religions, Italian Harlem, the Japanese Presbyterian Church in Seattle, and the Church of the Open Air established by the Salvation Army. The essays provide insight into the cultural creativity, reinterpretation of worship and religious ingenuity of city people over the last 50 years. Recommended for large collections.--Leo Kriz, West Des Moines Lib., IA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.