Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-century America

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Indiana University Press, 2001 - History - 268 pages
7 Reviews
In Radical Spirits, Ann Braude proposes that the engagement of women in the Spiritualism movement, with its belief in the direct accessibility of divine truth to individuals through spirit communication, not only provided a religious alternative to male-dominated mainstream religions, but also gave women a social and political voice as well. Because Spiritualists found in their faith a direct divine sanction for advancing social change, many of the women involved with Spiritualism were also tied to the early women's rights movements and to the radical wing of the movement for abolition of slavery. Thus, the early women's rights movement and Spiritualism went hand in hand.
While much has changed in the academy since the book was first published, feminist historians continue to view religion as the enemy of women's emancipation, while historians of religion see signs of feminism in women's religious activities. Ann Braude proposes to address this scholarly impasse and to press further her argument for the importance of religion in the study of American women's history.
In this new edition, Braude discusses the impact of the book on the scholarship of the last decade and assesses the place of religion in interpretations of women's history in general and the women's rights movement in particular. A review of current scholarship and suggestions for further reading make the book even more useful for contemporary teachers and students.

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Review: Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-Century America

User Review  - Catherine - Goodreads

Very good intro to the influence of Spiritualism on early women's rights, abolition and other major social movements of the 19th century. Braude does a fine job of providing a higher level overview of ... Read full review

Review: Radical Spirits: Spiritualism and Women's Rights in Nineteenth-Century America

User Review  - Tamira - Goodreads

Awesome--Braude makes a convincing argument that Spiritualism had a large hand in the women's rights movement, and that Spiritualism should be thought of as a bona fide religion. Read full review


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About the author (2001)

Ann Braude teaches at the Harvard Divinity School and is co-editor of Roots of Bitterness: Documents in the Social History of American Women.

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