Picturing Faith: Photography and the Great Depression

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Yale University Press, 2004 - Religion - 319 pages
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In the midst of the Great Depression, the American government initiated one of the most ambitious national photographic projects ever undertaken. Such photographers as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Gordon Parks--all then virtually unknown--were commissioned to chronicle in pictures the economic struggle and social dislocation of the Depression era. They explored every facet of rural life in an effort to document the troubles, as well as the spirit, of the nation.

Fanning out across the country, these photographers captured a nation alive with religious faith--from Dust Bowl migrants singing hymns to orthodox Jews praying in rural Connecticut. In Picturing Faith, the preeminent historian of religion Colleen McDannell recounts the history of this extraordinary project, telling the stories of the men and women who participated in it and exploring these little-known images of America.

Lavishly illustrated, Picturing Faith teases out the various and conflicting ways that these photographers portrayed American religion and enhances our understanding of how religion was practiced during this critical period of American history.

 

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Picturing faith: photography and the Great Depression

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McDannell presents a persuasive case that religion has been overlooked in our historical understanding of the enduring photographs of the Great Depression. She opens the book by comparing Dorothea ... Read full review

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Contents

Introducing Americans to America
1
Enduring Faith
23
Churches Without People
53
Another South
79
Christian Charity
113
New Mexicos Patriots
139
Farming Jews
167
The Negro Church
197
City Congregations
231
Projects End
269
Notes
279
Acknowledgments
303
Index
307
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About the author (2004)

Colleen McDannell is professor of history and Sterling M. McMurrin Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Utah.

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