Jessica Parr, adjunct professor of history, was invited to speak at Brock University's History Department Seminar in Canada in March. The topic of the presentation is about research done for her newest book, Inventing George Whitefield: Race, Revivalism, and the Making of Religious Icon, (University Press of Mississippi) due out on March 1.
In Inventing George Whitefield: Race, Revivalism, and the Making of Religious Icon, Parr argues that George Whitefield was a symbol shaped in the complexities of revivalism, the contest over religious toleration, and the conflicting role of Christianity for enslaved people.
Pro-slavery Christians saw Christianity form of social control for slaves. Evangelical Christianity’s emphasis on “freedom in the eyes of God,” combined with the problems that the rhetoric of the Revolution posed for slavery also suggested a path to political freedom.
The book's analysis Whitefield’s evolving thoughts on slavery is among the book’s central contributions, as a topic that has received little scholarly attention since the 1970s.
Parr also delves into the role memory politics played in shaping Whitefield's posthumous image, with the result that, as an icon, Whitefield was more powerful in death than during his life.
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