Friday, February 17, 2017

3:30-4:30 Armstrong Browning Lecture Hall

Dr. Sarah Williams (History of Christianity, Regent College) will present “Outward Signs and Inward Graces: The Place of Popular Religion in the Age of Urbanization and Empire.”

This talk explores religious identity in the late nineteenth century, a period associated with urbanization, migration, and the rise of global markets. The social history of religion has traditionally understood this period as an age of religious decline and secularization. Dr. Sarah Williams challenges this reading of the late-nineteenth-century by looking at popular perceptions of piety among semi- and un-churched communities in global cities. Using folklore, material culture, and popular ephemera, she traces the emergence of a new kind of religious localism among indigenous and immigrant communities. In so doing, she raises pertinent questions about the role and reformulation of religious identity amidst our own experience of rapid socio-political and cultural flux.