Sunday Night Odds and Ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Summer reading

Jacqui Shine reviews Andrew Hartman, A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars

Phi Beta Kappa book awards

Trigger warnings

Our souls

Wuthnow on polling

Is Bernie Sanders a “Front Porch Socialist?”

Catholics and marriage

The mystery of the liberal arts

Historiann engages the public

Wilfred McClay on the APUSH controversy

The Chris Borland story and NFL concussions

James Salter reviews David McCullough, The Wright Brothers

Daniel Stashower reviews Andrew Cohen, Contraband: Smuggling and the Birth of the American Century

John Turner on publishing

New books in American religious history

Thomas Hutchinson and the Stamp Act riots

Jimmy Carter’s grace

Keith Grant reviews Jonathan Den Hartog, Patriotism and Piety: Federalist Politics and Religious Struggle in the New American Nation

2 thoughts on “Sunday Night Odds and Ends

  1. Props for linking

    In this age of egalitarian more than qualitative scholarship, doing history increasingly amounts to doing sociology. Much hay has been made of the most recent Pew poll on religion but

    Polling about religion purports to tell us the facts by conducting scientifically reputable studies. Even with low response rates and complicated weighting schemes, the studies sometimes generate credible broad-brushed descriptions of general patterns. But polling should not be confused with painstaking research that takes months and years to complete and that relies on historical, ethnographic, and theoretical knowledge as well as numbers for its interpretation.

    From the beginning, polling was in the business to make headlines, and that is pretty much what it continues to do today. The seeming accuracy of results to the tenth of a percentage point doesn’t stand up to basic methodological scrutiny, nor does the content of the questions themselves. If the devil is in the details, the details about religion polls are devilishly difficult to trust.


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