Durham County Library lecture series: “Divining America: Religion in American History”

The Durham County Library is in the midst of a fantastic lecture series called “Divining America: Religion in American History,” which kicked off in mid September and runs through November. The series explores many of the major religious movements and watershed moments in American history from the seventeenth through twentieth centuries. Lectures/discussion sessions so far have covered Deism, Puritanism, Native American religion, Mormonism, and African American religion, from the founding of America through the Jim Crow era. Next up in the speaker series are two UNC Press authors, Charles Irons and Michael Lienesch.

On Tuesday, October 28 (that’s tomorrow!), Charles Irons’s talk, “‘The Almighty Has His Own Purposes’: Religion in the American Civil War,” will focus on religious Americans’ competing visions of war and emancipation. The event is at 7 p.m. at the Stanford L. Warren library branch, 1201 Fayetteville Street. Irons is the author of The Origins of Proslavery Christianity: White and Black Evangelicals in Colonial and Antebellum Virginia.

Next Thursday, November 6, Michael Lienesch will discuss how the Scopes Trial became synonymous with a debate that continues today – the intersection of religion and science and how the two are handled in educational settings. Lienesch wrote about this in his latest book, In the Beginning: Fundamentalism, the Scopes Trial, and the Making of the Antievolution Movement. He will speak at 7 p.m. at the North Regional library branch, 221 Milton Road.

The remaining talks in the series:

11/13 – Grant Wacker, “The Rise of Fundamentalism”

11/16 – Jonathan Boyarin, “Religious Freedom and the Needs of Special Children: Kiryas Joel Goes to the Supreme Court”

11/20 – Seth Dowland, “The Intersection of Religion and Politics in the 20th Century”