In A Communion of Shadows: Religion, Race, and Nation in Nineteenth-Century American Photography

A public lecture by Rachel Lindsey with response by Martha Sandweiss, Princeton University.



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  • In A Communion of Shadows: Religion, Race, and Nation in Nineteenth-Century American Photographs

    Rachel McBride Lindsey with response by Martha A. Sandweiss (February 17, 2015)


Rachel McBride Lindsey is Associate Director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. She earned the Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University in 2012. Her research and teaching focus on material and visual cultures in American history, particularly the role of material artifacts in practices of representation. Her current book project is entitled A Communion of Shadows: Vernacular Photography in Nineteenth-Century American Religion and explores how Americans adapted and contributed to the new visual technologies of the nineteenth century in ways that redefined devotional practices, visual habits, modes of biblical instruction, and vocabularies of self, community, and nation. She taught at Florida State University before coming to Washington University in St. Louis. In fall 2014, Lindsey taught the course, Religion and Politics in American History.

a5gp0rizfn135j6i8i3yswoivzbx512Martha A. Sandweiss will respond to Lindsey’s lecture. She is a historian of the United States, with particular interests in the history of the American West, visual culture, and public history. She received her Ph.D. in History from Yale University and began her career as a photography curator at the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth, TX. She later taught American Studies and History at Amherst College for twenty years before joining the Princeton faculty in 2009.

Sandweiss is the author or editor of numerous books on American history and photography. Her publications include Passing Strange: A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception across the Color Line (2009), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography, and Print the Legend: Photography and the American West (2002), winner of the Organization of American Historians’ Ray Allen Billington Award for the best book in American frontier history and the William P. Clements Award. Her other works include Laura Gilpin: An Enduring Grace (1986), winner of the George Wittenborn Award for outstanding art book, and the co-edited volume The Oxford History of the American West ((1994), winner of the Western Heritage Award and the Caughey Western History Association prize for the outstanding book in western history.

At Princeton, Sandweiss teaches courses on the history of the American West and on narrative writing, and currently heads a research project on Princeton and Slavery. She serves as faculty advisor to graduate student groups working in the fields of public history and Native American Studies. The recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Rockefeller Foundation, she consults widely on matters related to history education and the use of visual images for historical research and writing.