"Ambitious, and laudably so. In fact, I found myself wondering if the book ought to have been titled The Religious Production of American Freedom instead of The Production of American Religious Freedom, since it seems that Curtis wants ultimately to make broader and farther-reaching claims about the views Americans have historically held about their own choices in the political, social, economic, and religious realms."
—Politics and Religion
“Curtis’ work is valuable, spurring readers to interrogate the meaning and application of freedom and its relation to justice. It is also timely, helpfully framing many of the issues pertinent to our times regarding how Americans understand the tradition of religious freedom in daily life. This book benefits historians and laypersons alike as we grapple with what we mean when we claim we are religiously free.”
—The Journal of Church and State
"Each chapter, without exception, presents intriguing and provocative insights, raising questions of race (Griffith, Malcolm X), gender (Alcott, Hobby Lobby), science (Bryan, Intelligent Design), and religion more narrowly and institutionally understood (Finney, Smith). Scholars interested in the broad interconnections between the religious and the political — particularly scholars with capacious definitions of those two terms — will find food for thought throughout."
—Politics and Religion
"Offers a nuanced understanding of religious freedom."
"The Production of American Religious Freedom reads like a collection of meditations on important themes in American religious history that serve as case studies for conceptual problems in the study of religion."
"At a moment when scholars of religion are rethinking their contribution to public debate, Finbarr Curtis’s The Production of American Religious Freedom exemplifies the power of sustained academic engagement with the assumptions and histories that shape our fractious condition and toxic discourse...Learned, provocative, and interdisciplinary in the best sense, this book is an archaeology of conceptual confusion and a model for new conversations that might deepen our understandings of American religion and public life, historically and at present."
—Jason C. Bivins, North Carolina State University
"A bold, surprising, and timely intervention into ongoing debates about the political and ethical dimensions of secularism. . . . Curtis offers a revisionist history that challenges easy readings of American identity and progress and those scholarly paradigms that have made such readings so convenient. Through a series of case studies that span the last two centuries of American life, Curtis demonstrates that religious freedom is a messy business, a tangled skein of sweat and blood as well as malleable concept with viral propensities. In his deft and richly told tale, religious freedom is both the hinge of affective discipline of the nation-state and the grounds for ethnic, racial, and gendered forms of collective identity within; religious freedom is both the modus operandi of whiteness as well as the source of its potential undoing. The Production of American Religious Freedom is an exceptional and elegantly conceived project. It will change the way in which scholars of American religion and politics approach the concept of religion, in general, and where and how they locate it within history."
—John Modern, Franklin & Marshall College
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