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date: 05 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

While historians of America attend to religion most closely in the colonial and early national periods, this chapter, in contrast, views the century following the Civil War as the period when religious women had their greatest public impact, founding huge associations that connected religious women to public goals related to reform, temperance, and missions as well as foreign and domestic policy. It explores the responses of American women to the theological basis of gender in scriptural and doctrinal injunctions governing women’s public speech, leadership, and roles in marriage and motherhood. Treating Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Muslim, and Jewish women, the chapter draws on interpretive models from African American women’s history, a field that has theorized the inseparability of multiple markers of identity, including religion. It argues that the construction of every religious prejudice, like the construction of race, advances and is advanced by the construction of gender.

Keywords: religion, Christianity, Islam, religious prejudice, women, gender

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