Vernacular Photography and the Visual Archives of Nineteenth-Century American Religion


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines the role of vernacular photography in American religion from the introduction of the daguerreotype process in 1839 through the first decade of the twentieth century. It defines vernacular according to recent developments in photographic history but also works to link it directly to recent discussions in American religious history about the nature of scholarship with regards to subjects' “everyday” religious experiences. In particular, vernaculars were the kinds of photographs most intimately associated with daily life. Broadly conceived, the dissertation works to bridge the fields of photographic history and American religious history by focusing on specific artifacts in order to reflect on the relationships between material culture and religious experience.