280 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 6 halftones, notes, bibl., index
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2878-3
Published: September 2016
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-2879-0
Published: August 2016
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Awards & distinctions
2017 Francis B. Simkins Award, Southern Historical Association
Drawing on fascinating records of actual séance practices, the lives of the mediums, and larger citywide and national contexts, Clark reveals how the messages that the Cercle received from the spirit world offered its members rich religious experiences as well as a forum for political activism inspired by republican ideals. Messages from departed souls including François Rabelais, Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, Robert E. Lee, Emanuel Swedenborg, and even Confucius discussed government structures, the moral progress of humanity, and equality. The Afro-Creole Spiritualists were encouraged to continue struggling for justice in a new world where “bright” spirits would replace raced bodies.
About the Author
Emily Suzanne Clark is assistant professor of religious studies at Gonzaga University.
For more information about Emily Suzanne Clark, visit the Author Page.
“Will appeal to scholars of American race, religion, and Reconstruction and other dedicated readers interested in unusual and creative responses to the experience of being southern and black in the aftermath of the Civil War.”--Publishers Weekly
“A smart, creative, fun, thought-provoking read. Highly recommended.”--Choice
“Aims to contextualize the Brotherhood historically, socially, and politically in ways that are informative and thought provoking not only to historians and scholars in religious studies, but across different disciplines. . . . An enormous contribution to an area of scholarship long identified as having been under-researched.”--Reading Religion
“An original accomplishment that highlights how racial politics in post-Civil War New Orleans shaped nineteenth-century séances. . . . Contributes substantially to the study of American Spiritualism within the history of American racisim.”--Journal of Southern Religion
“Adds to the historiography by detailing the work of [the Cercle Harmonique].”--American Historical Review
"Richly detailed and completely fascinating. No one before Emily Suzanne Clark has given us a portrayal of the spiritual world of the educated and politically active men in the Cercle Harmonique. And no other religious historian has connected that world to developments in nineteenth-century culture and politics in the way that Clark accomplishes it here. A landmark book and one of the most important works in southern religious history published since the 1990s."--Paul Harvey, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs