Bounds of Their Habitation
Race and Religion in American History
By (author) Paul Harvey
Publication date:07 November 2017
Length of book:264 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
There is an “American Way” to religion and race unlike anyplace else in the world, and the rise of religious pluralism in contemporary American (together with the continuing legacy of the racism of the past and misapprehensions in the present) render its understanding crucial. Paul Harvey’s Bounds of Their Habitation, the latest installment in the acclaimed American Ways Series, concisely surveys the evolution and interconnection of race and religion throughout American history. Harvey pierces through the often overly academic treatments afforded these essential topics to accessibly delineate a narrative between our nation’s revolutionary racial and religious beginnings, and our increasingly contested and pluralistic future. Anyone interested in the paths America’s racial and religious histories have traveled, where they’ve most profoundly intersected, and where they will go from here, will thoroughly enjoy this book and find its perspectives and purpose essential for any deeper understanding of the soul of the American nation.
Harvey’s contribution to the American Ways series is a compact overview of his scholarly specialty, race and religion in America, from the English colonial period to the present. The operating assumption is that race and religion are 'categories invented in the modern world' and used to shape 'social hierarchies, cultural expressions, and political power.' They were earliest applied to deal with the Native Americans of New England and Virginia and, soon after, the black Africans forcibly impressed into slavery and, in time, other non-white and non-northern-European migrants, including Chinese and Japanese, South Asians, and Latinos. Among the products of this application were Christian apologies for slavery; Jim Crow; the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act; legalized segregation; Know-Nothingism; the Ku Klux Klan and its anti-black, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic spawn; and denial of First Amendment protection to Native American religion. The reactions included slave uprisings, the NAACP and minority-rights advocacy, the 1950s and ’60s civil rights movement, liberation theologies, the American Indian Movement (AIM), and Black Lives Matter. A magisterial précis.