08 Jan

Protestant Relics

Welcome to Protestant Relics! This blog serves as a platform for musings about my dissertation “Protestant Relics: The Politics of Religion & the Art of Mourning in the Early American Republic.” My dissertation examines the material culture of mourning that proliferated after George Washington’s death. It asks how and why early Americans produced, distributed, and displayed Washington relics–locks of hair, bones, and images. It traces how mourning for Washington and his relics became central to American Protestantism and politics. It also investigates how Americans’ obsession with Washington relics trickled into Protestant female academies and homes through mourning art. Early Americans engaged relics as powerful objects to understand their roles as political, religious, and gendered citizens. You will also find reviews of my preliminary exam readings here.