Pietism, Pennsylvania Germans, and Religious Difference in Colonial Pennsylvania (SEA 9/20/10; 3/3-5/11)

full name / name of organization: 
Brian Yothers
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Papers are solicited for a panel examining the role of religious difference in colonial Pennsylvania, with a
particular emphasis of the role of Pennsylvania Germans in creating the varied religious landscape of
eighteenth-century Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Germans played a leading role in developing numerous
religious and utopian communities in Pennsylvania during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,
including the Ephrata Cloister and the Kelpius group (Hermits of the Wissahickon). They also helped build
enduring small denominations such as the Mennonites, Amish, Dunkers (Brethren), Schwenkfelders, and
Moravians, as well as the larger Lutheran and German Reformed Confessions. They were central to the
development of the print culture in Pennsylvania and contributed substantially to the development of
progressive approaches to education in the eighteenth century. Meanwhile, the transnational German Pietism
that many Pennsylvania Germans embraced exercised a broader influence on American religious life in the
later eighteenth century through its incorporation into Anglo-American Methodism. Topics for papers for this
panel may include early Pennsylvania German antislavery activity; Moravian missions to Native Americans;
utopian and mystical communities; Mennonite and Dunker pacifism, educational reformers like Daniel Franz
Pastorius and Christopher Dock; the influence of the elder and younger Christopher Sauer (Sower) on early
American print culture; Mennonite martyrologies (particularly Martyr's Mirror); Pennsylvania German
newspapers; early leaders like Alexander Mack, Peter Becker, Conrad Weiser, Conrad Beissel, or Henry
Muhlenberg; fraktur art; Pennsylvania German hymnody (for example, the hymns of Alexander Mack, Jr.);
Pietist influences on Methodism; or representations of early Pennsylvania Germans in the writings of
Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Rush, Charles Brockden Brown, James Fenimore Cooper, Herman Melville, or
George Lippard.
Please submit 300 word abstracts to Brian Yothers at byothers_at_utep.edu by September 20, 2010.