Material History of American Religion Project

Robert Orsi

The Material Culture of Catholic Childhood

Building on his interest in material culture and the imaginative world of religion, Robert Orsi is exploring the ways in which children lived the Catholic faith in the late 19th and through the 20th centuries. The book looks specifically at how children became Catholic through the various media of the faith. The printed sources for the study range over Catholic memoirs, children's literature, and illustrated books for children. Given Orsi's interest in material culture, physical objects and behaviors—such as rosaries and prayer cards for children and children's rituals—will also play an essential role, as the book looks at the material objects available to children that surrounded them in the faith.

Robert Orsi is Professor of Religious Studies and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology and American Studies at Indiana University in Bloomington. A Ph.D. graduate of Yale University, he is the author of The Madonna of 115th Street (Yale, 1985) and Thank You, Saint Jude: Women's Devotion to the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes (Yale, 1996).

Department of Religious Studies
230 Sycamore Hall
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana 47405

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