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Stephen R. Prothero
Boston University (Boston, MA 02215-1300)
The Work of Eugene Exman (1900-1975): How an Editor and His Authors Made America More Spiritual and Less Religious

Writing of a biography of Eugene Exman (1900-1975), a book editor influential in the field of American religion.

Book-length study of Harper religion editor Eugene Exman and his authors focusing on their personal and professsional contributions to today's the "spiritual but not religious" sensibility. In this project, which is based on a massive archive recently discovered in Exman's home, I hope to shed new light on how liberal Protestants responded to the “religious depression” of the 1930s, how they contributed to the postwar revival of the 1940s and 1950s, and how they bent the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s toward alternative spiritualities (including in Asia). Chapters focus on the back stories and the afterlives in American culture of such books as Bill Wilson's Alcoholics Anonymous, Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Stride Toward Freedom, and Huston Smith's The Religions of Man.

Project fields:
Cultural History; History of Religion; U.S. History

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018