Colloque/international conference CESNUR 2009, Salt Lake City…

Colloque CESNUR , Salt Lake City…

Prochaine communication :  Conférence Internationale du CESNUR Center for the Studies of New Religions

« Popular Metaphysics in the Shaping of American Identity: The (Process) New Thought Movement
as a Mainstream or Marginalized Phenomenon?
« 
11 juin 2009

    video de la Conférence (KSL, Salt Lake City)

CESNUR

My abstract submission to the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) was accepted for their conference in Salt Lake City to be held 10-14 June. The program may be viewed here, and registration can be processed here. Following is the abstract I submitted:

Between postcolonial early republicanism and Protestant liberalism, the American metaphysical religion has been part of the shaping of national identity, both as a model of pluralism and a token of spiritual and political dynamism. This paper intends to show how the alternative religions/spiritualities such as the New Thought movement have stood as a significant social and political mirror of the postcolonial construction of American identity since the beginning of the 19th century.

I will first focus on the New Thought movement as a refuge for political upheavals ranging from conservatism to feminism and gender controversies. The movement has gathered paradoxes in both the political and spiritual areas, thus working as a metaphor of undercurrent genuine tensions among the population.

In addition, the American metaphysical religion has a new reality on the national stage with popular celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey. On September 23, 2001  in New York, Oprah Winfrey conducted a national, inter-religious service commemorating the catastrophe of the 9/11 attacks. This outstanding recognition for a newly successful businesswoman and spiritual leader, rallying up to 22 million viewers enhances the power of popular spirituality and metaphysics in the media and literature.

Through these two examples of the new Process New Thought and the Oprah phenomenon, we will try to show how religious pluralism has recently become a reality for any American in the definition of a national identity.

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