March 22: Professor Susan Ridgely Talk on “Southern, Catholic, Universal: The Creation of a Biracial Parish in Rural North Carolina 1870-1904”

Please join the Religious Studies Program for our 2024 March Research Brown Bag on Friday, March 22nd at 12:15pm! We’ll hear from Professor Susan Ridgely with her talk “Southern, Catholic, Universal: The Creation of a Biracial Parish in Rural North Carolina 1870-1904.” We will meet in the Bradley Memorial Conference Room (2nd Floor, Street Address: 1225 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin). Open to all!

Abstract: In this talk, I use oral history and archival research to analyze how a biracial parish formed and survived its first 35 years in the segregated South. For both white and Black parishioners in Newton Grove, converting to Catholicism excluded them from a racial and regional identity that merged “Southernness” and segregation. These Catholics sought to remake themselves as godly Southerners opposed to the separation of white from Black and of brother from brother. To do so, they had to carefully navigate the local frameworks of segregation in ways that would be true to the community’s commitment to universality while keeping it safe from the Ku Klux Klan.

Prof. Susan B. RidgelyProfessor Susan Ridgely uses the methodologies of lived religion to analyze the role of age and intergenerational engagement in religious practice. She is the author of Practicing What the Doctor Preached: At Home with Focus on the Family (Oxford University Press, 2016), When I was a Child: Children’s Interpretations of First Communion (University of North Carolina Press, 2005), and two edited volumes on theories and methods for including children in the academic study of religion. Her current project uses archival research and oral histories to explore the generational consequences of the desegregation of the diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina in 1953.