Religious Networks

Susanne Lachenicht

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:
Religious Networks

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  • History of the Americas
  • European History
  • African History
  • History
  • Regional and National History


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Research on religions and religious migrants in the Atlantic world (and beyond) has made evident that these groups had a rather important impact on historical change in the economy, societies, politics, and cultures within the Atlantic world and beyond. Particularly in the early modern period, the history of religious groups and their networks is central to our understanding of the history of the Atlantic world. Networks of religious communities are crucial for transnational, translocal, and circum-Atlantic exchange, including the exchange of goods, knowledge, and peoples. Religious networks were by no means exclusive networks, but were established within and without specific religious communities in order to satisfy these communities’ needs. While religious groups such as Sephardic Jews, Puritans, Quakers, Huguenots, Moravians, Anglicans, and others in the Atlantic world have been studied for a long time, thorough analyses of their internal and external networks are of a more recent date. Furthermore, up to the present day, most research has focused on one specific religious group, and it has included neither these various groups’ external networks nor their shared networks. Future research may focus more on religious groups’ “internal” and “external” networks and how they are intertwined. This will provide a better understanding of how religious migrants became “in-betweens” and “cross-cultural brokers,” linking peoples and regions with each other. It will also broaden our understanding of Atlantic exchange, entangledness, and reciprocity. Establishing the existence of religious networks in the Atlantic world, both internal and external, is difficult and can be a tedious undertaking. First, it requires an abundance of primary sources, such as correspondence, journals, and lists of transferred goods and peoples over long periods of time. For many religious communities within the Atlantic world, these primary sources have either not survived or are scattered over various countries, towns, and archives. Second, wherever primary sources relevant to establish networks have survived, it is a rather time-consuming task to reconstruct networks out of them. This bibliography looks at networks of a variety but not all of the religious groups within the Atlantic world. While other religious groups might have created and sustained important internal and external networks, they are understudied as of yet. Thus, this entry offers works on Anglican Church/SPG, Irish Catholics, Jesuits, Methodists, Moravians/Herrnhuters, New England Dissenters/Puritans, Lutherans/Pietists, Portuguese and Sephardic Jews, Quakers, and Reformed (Dutch Calvinist, German, Huguenot) networks. It also includes a section on Trade Networks, which were more often than not created and sustained by specific religious groups, and thus help us understand the role of these groups as agents of transfer and exchange.

Article.  4716 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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