Our next workshop meeting will be Thursday, November 7.  Kyle Wagner will discuss his dissertation proposal, “From the Fringes to the Right: Anticommunism and the Negotiation of American Pentecostal Identity”:

The trajectory of American Pentecostalism, from its origins in the early 20th century to the present day, often is described in general terms as a shift from largely self-imposed separation from broader American culture to greater engagement with and integration into American culture. This narrative is somewhat problematic in that it elides important differences between the trajectories of various Pentecostal denominations and groups, yet it does accurately describe a general trend that calls for explanation.  Whereas early American Pentecostals were identified, both from within the movement and from the outside, as existing on the religious and cultural fringes, large swaths of American Pentecostals today are integrated into the loosely (and often poorly) defined nexus of ‘American evangelicalism,’ and they generally identify with the conservative right wing of the political and social spectrum.  The processes by which this transformation from separation to integration occurred undoubtedly are myriad and complex.  Despite the importance of this transformation, most of the scholarship on Pentecostalism focuses either on the origins and early development of the movement or on the current phenomenon of massive global Pentecostalism.  A subset of scholarship, however, attempts to uncover the details of this larger process of transformation within Pentecostalism as it occurred in the United States.  This project contributes to this latter body of scholarship by focusing on American Pentecostalism from the 1940s to the 1960s – the era in which the key developments in this shift occurred.  In particular I focus on anticommunism within American Pentecostalism as a central, if not the central, element that helps explain the transformation from separatist classical Pentecostalism to broadly integrated contemporary Pentecostalism.  In addition, I focus on anticommunism as a crucial and particularly illuminating lens through which to view the ‘evangelicalization’ of large segments of American Pentecostalism.”

DATE: Thursday, November 7

TIME: 12:00 – 1:15

PLACE: Swift 201


To obtain a copy of Kyle’s paper, please email me at shields@uchicago.edu.  Hope to see you all there!