The middle class black women who people Judith Weisenfeld’s history were committed both to social action and to institutional expression of their religious convictions. Their story provides an illuminating perspective on the varied forces working to improve quality of life for African Americans in crucial times.When undertaking to help young women migrating to and living alone in New York, Weisenfeld’s protagonists chose to work within a national evangelical institution. Their organization of a black chapter of the Young Women’s Christian Association in 1905 was a clear step toward establishing a suitable environment for young working women; it was also an expression of their philosophy of social uplift. And predictably it was the beginning of an equal rights struggle—to work as equals with white women activists. Growing and adapting as New York’s black community evolved over the decades, the black YWCA assumed a central role both in the community’s religious life and as a training ground for social action. Weisenfeld’s analysis of the setbacks and successes closes with the National YWCA’s vote in 1946 to adopt an interracial charter and move toward integration of local chapters, thus opening the door to a different set of challenges for a new generation of black activists.Weisenfeld’s account gives a vibrant picture of African American women as significant actors in the life of the city. And it bears telling witness to the religious, class, gender, and racial negotiations so often involved in American social reform movements.
A growing number of studies indicate that older people in the church form social ties that have a significant positive impact on their physical and mental health. In Aging in the Church, Neal Krause comprehensively assesses the various relationships that stem from church involvement.
Among the many types of relationships Krause explores are close companion friendships, social-support structures (such as assistance provided by fellow church members during difficult times), and interactions that arise from Bible study and prayer groups. Through his thorough investigation of the underlying links between these relationships and the ways they relate to attributes like forgiveness, hope, gratitude, and altruism, the author hopes to explain why older adults who are involved in religious activities tend to enjoy better physical and mental health than those who are not engaged in religious communities. Going beyond merely reviewing the existing research on this subject, Aging in the Church provides a blueprint for taking research on church-based social relationships and health to the next level by identifying conceptual and methodological issues that investigators will confront as they delve more deeply into these connections.
Though these are complex issues, readers will find plain language and literature drawn from a wide array of disciplines, including sociology, psychology, public health, medicine, psychiatry, nursing, social work, gerontology, and theology. Literature, poetry, philosophy, and ethical ideas supplement the insights from these diverse fields. As a result, Aging in the Church takes on a genuinely interdisciplinary focus that will appeal to various scholars, researchers, and students.
The Roman Catholic church played a dominant role in colonial Brazil, so that women’s lives in the colony were shaped and constrained by the Church’s ideals for pure women, as well as by parallel concepts in the Iberian honor code for women. Records left by Jesuit missionaries, Roman Catholic church officials, and Portuguese Inquisitors make clear that women’s daily lives and their opportunities for marriage, education, and religious practice were sharply circumscribed throughout the colonial period. Yet these same documents also provide evocative glimpses of the religious beliefs and practices that were especially cherished or independently developed by women for their own use, constituting a separate world for wives, mothers, concubines, nuns, and witches.
Drawing on extensive original research in primary manuscript and printed sources from Brazilian libraries and archives, as well as secondary Brazilian historical works, Carole Myscofski proposes to write Brazilian women back into history, to understand how they lived their lives within the society created by the Portuguese imperial government and Luso-Catholic ecclesiastical institutions. Myscofski offers detailed explorations of the Catholic colonial views of the ideal woman, the patterns in women’s education, the religious views on marriage and sexuality, the history of women’s convents and retreat houses, and the development of magical practices among women in that era. One of the few wide-ranging histories of women in colonial Latin America, this book makes a crucial contribution to our knowledge of the early modern Atlantic World.
How do mothers reconcile conflicting loyalties--to their religious traditions, and to the daughters whose freedoms are also constrained by those traditions? Searching for answers, Tova Hartman Halbertal interviewed mothers of teenage daughters in religious communities: Catholics in the United States, Orthodox Jews in Israel.Sounding surprisingly alike, both groups described conscious struggles between their loyalties and talked about their attempts to make sense of and pass on their multiple commitments. They described accommodations and rationalizations and efforts to make small changes where they felt that their faith unjustly subordinated women. But often they did not feel they could tell their daughters how troubled they were. To keep their daughters safe within the protective culture of their ancestors, the mothers had to hide much of themselves in the hope that their daughters would know them more completely in the future.Moving and unique, this book illuminates one of the moral questions of our time--how best to protect children and preserve community, without being imprisoned by tradition.
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