Date of Award

5-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Anthropology

Major Professor

Charles H. Faulkner

Committee Members

David G. Anderson, Barbara J. Heath, Mark D. Hulsether, John B. Rehder

Abstract

This dissertation is an historical anthropology investigating the late 19th century liturgical landscapes of the National Camp‐Meeting Association for the Promotion of Holiness, an organization of Methodist clergy who sought ecclesiastical and social reform primarily through camp‐meeting revivals promoting the experience of entire sanctification. National camp meetings drew from the liturgical and architectural traditions of early 19th century frontier revivalism, yet, as this dissertation argues, these meetings were not simply an appropriation of the structure of Second Great Awakening revivals for the purpose of promoting holiness theology in decidedly more urban areas of the Northeast and Mid‐Atlantic. Rather, these meetings were a (re)imagining of the cultural practice of the camp‐meeting through a Victorian system of symbolic meanings, a middle‐class, (ex)urban geographic context, and a distinctive set of liturgical performances, social interactions, and cognitive‐environmental and architectural cues designed to elicit a changed subjectivity among attendees. Each of these transformations shaped the social space, architectural configuration, and site selection of the liturgical landscapes of the National Camp‐Meeting Association, and it is these spatial and material traces that offer a substantial body of data for the interpretation of past religious and ritual landscapes in North America. Such interpretation of revival landscapes is possible through a process of cross‐mending archival sources (diaries, autobiographies, biographies, historic correspondence, newspaper reports, sermon texts, organizational documents, maps, photographs), material culture, archaeological reports, geo‐spatial and environmental data to reconstruct and thickly interpret the ritual landscapes of three early meetings of the National Camp‐Meeting Association for the Promotion of Holiness – Vineland, New Jersey, Manheim, Pennsylvania, and Round Lake, New York. In its results, this dissertation argues for a significant connection between Methodism, geographic regions, and 19th century holiness practices, and an interpretation of holiness revivalism as a means of renegotiating moral orders amidst industrialization, urbanization, vacationing, and changing social fault lines in the church including race and gender.

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