Guest Lecture

Protestant America?

Protestant America?

Dr. Anja-Maria Bassimir (Obama Institute, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)

Even though there is now with Joe Biden the second Catholic President in the White House, Protestants have numerically dominated the United States from the beginning until today. In Germany, we pay attention especially to the more outrageous aspects of Protestant America: the pompous church services, sex scandals, trumped up claims of healing and wealth, and blatant abuse of religious symbols. It is easy to lose sight of everyday American Protestants amidst the headlines of then-President Trump using the Bible as a prop and belittling BlackLivesMatter protestors or Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of Falwell Sr., the Moral Majority founder and standard-bearer of the New Christian Right, tweeting a picture of himself with his pants unzipped. In this talk, I want to look beyond the scandal. Starting with demographic data, we’ll look at how religion in the United States is organized. Comparing different surveys, we’ll start questioning how pollsters sort people into religious categories. We’ll use statistical discrepancies to explore the Protestant diversity today and historically trace different faith traditions as well as practices of categorization.

This talk will take place online on May 25, 2021, from 8am-9:30am, via our university’s video conference platform, MLUConf. Please register with PD Dr. Julia Nitz at if you would like to join this online lecture.

Dr. Anja-Maria Bassimir is a historian and religious studies scholar, working as adjunct professor/postdoctoral researcher at the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. Bassimir studied in Germany and the United States and completed her doctoral work at the University of Münster. From 2013 to 2019, she was part of the DFG research group “Un/doing Differences: Practices in Human Differentiation” in Mainz, researching practices of inclusion and exclusion in religious periodicals. She has published on evangelical history and periodical cultures and her book, Evangelical Visions, on evangelical magazines in the 1970s and 1980s is under contract with Alabama University Press. For her new project, Bassimir is exploring the topics of social and economic history.




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