Patriotism Black and White

Patriotism Black and White

The Color of American Exceptionalism

by Nichole R. Phillips

392 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in

  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9781481309578
  • Published: December 2018

$49.95

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American civil religion unifies the nation’s culture, regulates national emotions, and fosters a storied national identity. American civil religion celebrates the nation’s founding documents, holidays, presidents, martyrs and, above all, those who died in its wars.

Patriotism Black and White investigates the relationship between patriotism and civil religion in a politically populist community comprised of black and white evangelicals in rural Tennessee. By measuring the effort to remember national sacrifice, Patriotism Black and White probes deeply into how patriotism funds civil religion in light of two changes to America—the election of its first Black president and the initiation of a modern, religiously inspired war.

Based on her four years of ethnographic research, Nichole Phillips discovers that both black and white evangelicals feel marginalized and isolated from the rest of the country. Bound by regional identity, both groups respond similarly to these drastic changes. Black and white constituents continue to express patriotism and embrace a robust national identity. Despite the commonality of being rural and southern, Phillips’ study reveals that racial experiences are markers for distinguishable responses to radical social change. As Phillips shows, racial identity led to differing responses to the War on Terror and the Obama administration, and thus to a crisis in American national identity, opening the door to new nativistic and triumphalist interpretations of American exceptionalism. It is through this door that Phillips takes readers in Patriotism Black and White.