Postsecular studies have come into their own, and important new studies continue to reevaluate the relationship between the religious and the secular. In medieval society, the “secular” meant “worldly” and indicated those people and places that were not priests, churches, monasteries, and the like. It was primarily a spatial demarcation: the religious was here, the secular was there. Through the Enlightenment and its aftermaths, the relationship became primarily temporal: the religious was before, and the secular came after. Today, these so-called secularization narratives are largely rejected. Religion in the present, we know, has not disappeared, and religion in the past, as Bryce Traister remarks, was not “the totalizing condition that it needed to have been in order to front the old secularization narrative” (5). With postsecular studies, then, the relationship is neither spatial nor temporal. It is perspectival....
Female Piety and the Invention of American Puritanism
Cast Down: Abjection in America, 1700–1850
Abram Van Engen is associate professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of Sympathetic Puritans: Calvinist Fellow Feeling in Early New England (Oxford Univ. Press, 2015). He has won the Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Early American History and a faculty fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his next project, a biography of John Winthrop’s famous “city on a hill” sermon, “A Model of Christian Charity,” from 1630 to the present day.