American Sacred Space

American Sacred SpaceIn A Series Of Pioneering Studies, This Book Examines The Creation And The Conflict Behind The Creation Of Sacred Space In America These Essays Visit Places In America Where Ecnomic, Political, And Social Forces Clash Over The Sacred And The Profane. In American Sacred Space, edited by David Chidester and Edward T Lintel, several scholars combine their efforts to theorize the concept of American sacred space and to examine the production and presence of sacred space in a series of important American case studies It is important to note which may have been accomplished with a subtitle to the book that the authors are concerned with American civil religion patriotic than religious as opposed to a strictly religious look at various denominations and American belief systems In reaction to the theory that American sacred space has generally been pluralistic yet harmonious, this work consistently finds American space to be conflictual The editors write Sacred places are arenas in which power relations can be reinforced, in which relations between insiders and outsiders, rulers and subjects, elders and juniors, males and females, and so on, can be adjudicated But those power relations are always resisted Space is contested for many reasons economics, politics, etc but when issues of religion and reverence for deceased persons enters the equation, the contest for space reaches the most serious of undertakings for Americans By looking at sites in which Americans seek to preserve the memories and cultures that constitute a collective history including Native American sacred sites, the national monument at Pearl Harbor, the idealized Ch
American Sacred Space presents a decidedly uneven collection of essays by mostly North American scholars, loosely gathered around the title topic so loosely gathered, in fact, as to make the whole volume unfocused and of limited usefulness.In the Introduction, the editors helpfully survey the various scholarly positions on spatial sacrality, particularly in terms of the dichotomy between an Eliadean substantive model and a Durkheimean situational or functional model this dichotomy is standard in the large scholarly literature on sacred space, and this introduction captures it well, while not adding any earthshaking insights.The first three essays are made somewhat tedious by their proximity to one another in the volume, as all three involve the political tensions between the uses of spaces both sacred and secular by the United States government and the sacrality of the same spaces to Native Americans While a volume on American sacred space could hardly do justice to its topic without approaching it from the standpoint of the first Americans and the ongoing dialectic of their relationship with later claimants to American space, three chapters in a row nearly half the printed pages of the book make for repetitive reading, particularly when other topics as noted below are left uncovered.Colleen McDannell s essay on the role of Christian homeschooling in sacralizing the American home is promising, but much of what she says is unfortunately outdated the book was publishe
Nice overview of theories on sacred space in the introduction by Chidester and Linenthal They divide the theories into situational and substantial For example, Claude Levi Strauss theorizes sacred space as situational Sacred space is an empty signifier so it is susceptible to the reception of any meaning whatsoever 6 On the other hand Mircea Eliade view s sacred space as substantial For him, the sacred irrupts into space creating centers In simple terms, substantial means some sort of divine phenomenon whereas situational means the human aspect Jonathan Z Smith is likewise situational or humanistic He sees sacred space being created as a result of cultural labor of ritual, in specific historical situations involving the hard work of attention, memory, design, construction, and control of place 6 Their final theorist, Van der Leeuw, is a mix He does see an agency of sacred power so that aspect of his theory is substantial or perhaps divine Otherwise, he is mainly situational First off, he sees the home and temple as nearly equivalent in meaning an authentic religious experience is akin to homesickness He sees the modern western home as having lost some of that sacredness because there are no clear boundaries and its ownership is alienated Sacred space for Van der Leeuw must include aspects of property and polit

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  • Paperback
  • 368 pages
  • American Sacred Space
  • David Chidester
  • English
  • 20 August 2019
  • 9780253210067