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Patriotism Black and White
The Color of American Exceptionalism

By Nichole Phillips

Patriotism Black and White
This edition is not available yet, but we welcome you to place a pre-order.
Hardback, 440 pages $49.95
Published: 15th December 2018
ISBN: 9781481309578
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: American Studies, Sociology of Religion

American civil religion unifies the nation’s culture, regulates national emotions, and fosters a storied national identity. American civil religion celebrates the nation’s founding documents, holidays, presidents, martyrs and, above all, those who died in its wars.

Patriotism Black and White investigates the relationship between patriotism and civil religion in a politically populist community comprised of black and white evangelicals in rural Tennessee. By measuring the effort to remember national sacrifice, Patriotism Black and White probes deeply into how patriotism funds civil religion in light of two changes to America—the election of its first Black president and the initiation of a modern, religiously inspired war.

Based on her four years of ethnographic research, Nichole Phillips discovers that both black and white evangelicals feel marginalized and isolated from the rest of the country. Bound by regional identity, both groups respond similarly to these drastic changes. Black and white constituents continue to express patriotism and embrace a robust national identity. Despite the commonality of being rural and southern, Phillips’ study reveals that racial experiences are markers for distinguishable responses to radical social change. As Phillips shows, racial identity led to differing responses to the War on Terror and the Obama administration, and thus to a crisis in American national identity, opening the door to new nativistic and triumphalist interpretations of American exceptionalism. It is through this door that Phillips takes readers in Patriotism Black and White.

"An intriguing study of religion, race, and nationalism within rural America, especially at a time when these matters are on such broad display."

—Drew Smith, Professor of Urban Ministry, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Patriotism Black and White provides a wonderfully nuanced understanding of the contemporary dynamics of public theology, civil religion, and national identities among rural evangelicals in the United States. Taking seriously the shared and diverging perspectives of black and white Americans, Nichole Phillips thoughtfully mines what notions of service to country, sacrifice, and nationalism mean to diverse rural dwellers. In the process, she uncovers how a ‘politics of death’ shapes the triumphalism and nativism so characteristic of current forms of nationalism while offering important insight into a corrective for an American exceptionalism too long used to sacralize domination and exclusion. The book will surely generate robust conversation about the content, let alone the viability, of exceptionalism as a category to describe national identity in contemporary public discourse.”

—Jeffrey Williams, Associate Professor of American Religious History, Brite Divinity School

Nichole R. Phillips is Assistant Professor of Sociology, Religion, and Culture at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

Publication Details:

 Hardback , 440 pages
 9in x 6in

  POL031000, REL084000, SOC039000
 Baylor University Press

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