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The Church in the Wildwood: An Environmental History of Outdoor Ministry, 1945-1980

thesis
posted on 01.05.2021, 00:00 by Christopher William Anderson
This dissertation explores the history of religious camps and retreat centers in order to provide fresh insights into the history of environmentalism in the United States. Ecumenical Protestantism and the ecology movement both changed the calculus of American morality in the 1960s and 70s. Exploring the growth of Protestant outdoor ministries, we find that these institutions reacted to ecological critiques with temperate but gradual reforms. The dominant paradigm of environmental stewardship shaped the discourse of moral environmentalism in serious but limiting ways. Camps, by virtue of their "natural" settings and sizable acreage, give us a new way to interrogate the history of spirituality and ecology. This dissertation uses archival material, case study visits, and oral histories to gain better understanding of religious environmentalism in the Anthropocene.

History

Advisor

Schultz, Kevin

Chair

Schultz, Kevin

Department

History

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

Doctoral

Degree name

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Committee Member

Johnston, Robert Hudson, Lynn Boyer, Christopher Dochuk, Darren Case-Winters, Anna

Submitted date

May 2021

Thesis type

application/pdf

Language

en

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