Religion in the Age of Enlightenment


Religion in the Age of Enlightenment, Book Review, Essays


This recent collection of essays promises to transcend the Old vs. New World, Catholic vs. Protestant, and European vs. indigenous dichotomies that have dominated the emerging field of Atlantic studies. Edited by Daniella Kostroun and Lisa Vollendorf and drawing from a colloquium sponsored by UCLA's Center for Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Studies at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, Women, Religion, and the Atlantic World (1600-1800)explores how religion and spirituality shaped local politics, economics, gender, and race in Europe, the Caribbean, and North and South America. The alternative directions described and modeled in the volume all assume a women's and gender studies approach invested in "interrogating established narratives and literary canons in search of the 'hidden' agency and voices of women'' (6). This volume also acknowledges the crucial role "religious institutions, beliefs, and practices" had in shaping "the standard categories of race, class, and gender" in the early modern world (7). Armed with these ideological and methodological commitments, the editors insist on the ability of early modern women to "give us a glimpse into the complex interplay between religion, gender, and authority in the Atlantic world" (3). In its entirety, Women, Religion, and the Atlantic World (1600-1800) provides a glimpse of the possibilities attendant upon the redefinition of Atlantic studies through interdisciplinary and collaborative work.