Sunday, July 21, 2013

What is Robert Wuthnow reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Robert Wuthnow, author of Small-Town America: Finding Community, Shaping the Future.

His entry begins:
Most of my days are filled with reading students’ and colleagues’ manuscripts, scanning old newspapers for some project I’m working on, or looking at numbers from surveys and polls. When I’m finished, more reading is the last thing I want to do. But at the Center for the Study of Religion, we annually select one or two particularly important new books and host a panel discussion with the authors. In that connection, I recently had the opportunity to read two terrific new books.

Paging God: Religion in the Halls of Medicine by Wendy Cadge, who teaches sociology at Brandeis University, presents the results of more than five years of research during which she spent time visiting hospitals, followed chaplains on rounds, and interviewed dozens of nurses, doctors, and chaplains. Cadge is a brilliant ethnographer who previously wrote a book about immigrant and native-born American Buddhists. In this new work, she shows how challenging it has become for hospitals and health practitioners to deal with the growing ethnic and religious diversity of the US population. The book richly describes what...[read on]
About Small-Town America, from the publisher:
More than thirty million Americans live in small, out-of-the-way places. Many of them could have chosen to join the vast majority of Americans who live in cities and suburbs. They could live closer to better paying jobs, more convenient shopping, a wider range of educational opportunities, and more robust health care. But they have opted to live differently.

In Small-Town America, we meet factory workers, shop owners, retirees, teachers, clergy, and mayors--residents who show neighborliness in small ways, but who also worry about everything from school closings and their children's futures to the ups and downs of the local economy. Drawing on more than seven hundred in-depth interviews in hundreds of towns across America and three decades of census data, Robert Wuthnow shows the fragility of community in small towns. He covers a host of topics, including the symbols and rituals of small-town life, the roles of formal and informal leaders, the social role of religious congregations, the perception of moral and economic decline, and the myriad ways residents in small towns make sense of their own lives. Wuthnow also tackles difficult issues such as class and race, abortion, homosexuality, and substance abuse.

Small-Town America paints a rich panorama of the lives and livelihoods of people who reside in small communities, finding that, for many people, living in a small town is an important part of self-identity.
Read more about Small-Town America at the Princeton University Press website.

Wuthnow teaches sociology and directs the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. He is the author of many books about American religion and culture, including Remaking the Heartland: Middle America since the 1950s and Red State Religion: Faith and Politics in America's Heartland.

The Page 99 Test: Red State Religion.

Writers Read: Robert Wuthnow.

--Marshal Zeringue