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'The Gospel According to the Klan' identifies the intimate relationships between Protestantism, nationalism, gender and whiteness in the print culture of the 1920s Klan in order to demonstrate that the Klan reflected the values, ideals and aspirations of white America in that era. To present the commonalities between the Klan and the 'mainstream' deflates historiographical arguments that label the Klan as periphery in both narratives of American culture and American religious history. This also suggests the ways in which religious faith, nationalism, gender and race all define and create one another in the Klan's attempts to define what America was and what she certainly was not. The chapters, then, focus not on chronology but themes in an attempt to recraft the worldview of the 1920s Klan. I rely on methodologies of lived religion and ethnography to crack open their world and recreate it for readers in order to move beyond the Klan classification as a simply white supremacist group and show the complexities of the order's hatred and commitment to the American nation. Klan print culture has been under-utilized in histories of the Klan, and it is a rich resource to see the logic, values and theologies of the order. What also becomes clear is that the Klan consciously defined the order in opposition to Catholicism. Catholic voices are equally important as Klan voices in the telling of this narrative because they illuminated another vision of America, which the Klan sought to counteract.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Religion in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
John Corrigan, Professor Directing Dissertation; Neil Jumonville, Outside Committee Member; Amanda Porterfield, Committee Member; Amy Koehlinger, Committee Member; Robin Simon, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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