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John Hayes
Augusta State University (Augusta, GA 30904-2200)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2015 – 7/31/2015

Interracial Folk Religion in the Poor South, 1916-1966

Summer research and writing on Cultural and U.S. History and History of Religion.

Hard, Hard Religion weaves together gleanings from folklorists' fieldwork, oral history, sociological field studies, denominational reformers' reports, early recorded music, and elements of material culture to uncover a hidden Christianity beneath the visible, well-documented religious forms of the Bible Belt South. This hidden Christianity was a distinct, regionally-specific instance of folk religion, created and perpetuated through the classic folk techniques of orality and imitation. Such techniques enabled the poor of the South to craft a Christianity with intimate meaning for their everyday lives, in contrast and opposition to the middle-class or bourgeois ethos of the region's dominant Christian forms. Oral and imitative channels were also the key to the most surprising feature of this hidden folk Christianity: its existence as a space of interracial exchange during the very era of Jim Crow's seeming hegemony. I am seeking the Summer Stipend to complete the writing of this book.