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Recalling Religions: Ethnic Womens Literature Hardcover – August 15, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Tennessee Press; 1st edition (August 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572331275
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572331273
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,513,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

“Peter Powers brings together critical sophistication in both theology and cultural history, while also demonstrating superior skills at literary analysis. There are few books that address the role of religion in American fiction, let alone ethnic American fiction. None do so in so profoundly revisionary a way as this.”—Joseph T. Skerrett, Jr., University of Massachusetts–Amherst

In Recalling Religions, Peter Kerry Powers demonstrates the pervasive influence of religion in the literature produced by ethnic women writers in late-twentieth-century America. Through close readings of works by Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Cynthia Ozick, the author shows how particular religious traditions have served as a resource for ethnic women, enabling them to sustain their communities in the face of oppression.

Powers’s analysis serves as an important corrective to earlier investigations of literature and religion. Too often, he argues, such studies have functioned with an abstract or individualistic notion of religion, thus downplaying the significance of ethnic traditions and practices. Other studies have emphasized the religious traditions of discrete groups but have failed to see the points of contact and common purpose between different ethnic experiences.

By examining writers with disparate religious heritages, Powers introduces important new insights. He finds that even as traditions and cultural memories have nurtured ethnic wormen writers, their works have frequently rewritten or recreated such traditions for the present day—seeking, for instance, to overcome or transcend the sexism that may have characterized earlier periods.

In its explorations of Walker, Kingston, Silko, and Ozick, Recalling Religions identifies broader trends that further our understanding of both American literatureand religious culture.

The Author: Peter Kerry Powers is associate professor of English at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. His articles and reviews have appeared in South Atlantic Review, African American Review,  American Literature, MELUS, and other publications.

About the Author

Peter Kerry Powers is associate professor of English at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. His articles and reviews have appeared in South Atlantic Review, African American Review,  American Literature, MELUS, and other publications.

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More About the Author

Peter Kerry Powers is currently Dean of the School of the Humanities at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Though most of his time is spent helping faculty do their work and students solve their problems, he still teaches and pursues his scholarly interests in American literature. His first book, Recalling Religions, looks at the way contemporary ethnic women writers use and transform religious traditions for aesthetic and political purposes. Peter is finishing a book manuscript on Religion and Masculinity in the Harlem Renaissance, and has begun work on a manuscript on the way reading is imagined in contemporary American culture.

Peter was born in Galveston Texas, lived for a while in New Guinea in the South Pacific, and was raised mostly in Oklahoma. He received his B.A. from Wheaton College, an MFA in Creative writing from the University of Montana, and an MA and a PhD from Duke University. He has taught at a number of institutions and has published scholarly and popular articles on multi-ethnic American literature, teaching, religion and culture, and contemporary literature. Peter blogs at