See the assignments for due dates. See the Zotero group for access to the readings.

Week 1 / Jan. 26: Moravians

  • Katherine Carte Engel, Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011).

  • Sven Beckert, “History of American Capitalism,” in American History Now, ed. Eric Foner and Lisa McGirr (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011), 314–35.


  • Seth Rockman, “What Makes the History of Capitalism Newsworthy?,” Journal of the Early Republic 34, no. 3 (2014): 439–66.

  • Jeremy Adelman and Jonathan Levy, “The Fall and Rise of Economic History,” Chronicle of Higher Education, December 1, 2014.

  • Sven Beckert et al., “Interchange: The History of Capitalism,” Journal of American History 101, no. 2 (2014): 503–36, doi:10.1093/jahist/jau357.

Week 2 / Feb. 2: Puritans

  • Mark Valeri, Heavenly Merchandize: How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014).

  • Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, ed. Peter Baehr and Gordon C. Wells (New York: Penguin Classics, 2002), 1–95 (i.e., chs. 1-3 and ch. 4’s sections on Calvinism and Pietism).


  • Bernard Bailyn, The Apologia of Robert Keayne: Self-Portrait of a Puritan Merchant (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1964), 45–60.

  • Stephen Innes, Creating the Commonwealth: The Economic Culture of Puritan New England (New York: W.W. Norton, 1995).

  • Mark Peterson, The Price of Redemption: The Spiritual Economy of Puritan New England (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997).

  • Kristen Block, Ordinary Lives in the Early Caribbean: Religion, Colonial Competition, and the Politics of Profit (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2012).

  • Marcy Norton, Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2010).

Week 3 / Feb. 9: Antebellum Protestants

  • Mark A. Noll, ed., God and Mammon: Protestants, Money, and the Market, 1790–1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

  • Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, ed. Peter Baehr and Gordon C. Wells (New York: Penguin Classics, 2002), 95–203.


  • Charles G. Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), ch. 7.

  • E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (New York: Pantheon Books, 1964), ch. 11

  • Paul E. Johnson, A Shopkeeper’s Millennium: Society and Revivals in Rochester, New York, 1815-1837 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1991).

  • David Paul Nord, Faith in Reading: Religious Publishing and the Birth of Mass Media in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).

  • Jeanne Halgren Kilde, When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

Week 4 / Feb. 16 Feb. 23: Commodities

  • Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995).

  • Lerone A. Martin, Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Shaping of Modern African American Religion (New York: NYU Press, 2014), ch. 3.

  • Marx, Capital, vol. 1, ch. 1.


  • David Morgan and Sally M. Promey, The Visual Culture of American Religions (University of California Press, 2001).

  • Moishe Postone and Timothy Brennan, “Labor and the Logic of Abstraction: An Interview,” South Atlantic Quarterly 108, no. 2 (April 1, 2009): 305–30, doi:10.1215/00382876-2008-035.

  • David Harvey, A Companion to Marx’s Capital, 2nd ed. (New York: Verso, 2010).

Week 5 / Feb. 23 Mar. 2: Markets

  • Stewart Davenport, Friends of the Unrighteous Mammon: Northern Christians and Market Capitalism, 1815–1860 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008).

  • Marx, Capital, vol. 1, chs. 2–3 discussion of chapter 1 from previous week.


  • Kathryn Teresa Long, The Revival of 1857-58: Interpreting an American Religious Awakening (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), ch. 2.

  • Jonathan Levy, Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012).

  • John Corrigan, Business of the Heart: Religion and Emotion in the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).

  • Moore, R. Laurence. Selling God: American Religion in the Marketplace of Culture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

  • Catherine A. Brekus, “The Perils of Prosperity: Some Historical Reflections on Christianity, Capitalism, and Consumerism in the United States,” in American Christianities: A History of Dominance and Diversity, ed. Catherine A. Brekus and W. Clark Gilpin (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011), 279–306.

  • Jeffrey P. Sklansky, The Soul’s Economy: Market Society and Selfhood in American Thought, 1820-1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002).

Week 6 / Mar. 2 Mar. 16: Gifts and Holidays

  • Leigh Eric Schmidt, Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997).

  • Marcel Mauss, The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, trans. W. D. Halls (W. W. Norton, 2000).


  • Leigh Eric Schmidt, “Practices of Exchange: From Market Culture to Gift Economy in the Interpretation of American Religion,” in Lived Religion in America: Toward a History of Practice, ed. David D. Hall (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), 69–91.

  • Alexis McCrossen, Holy Day, Holiday: The American Sunday (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000), ch. 7.

  • Leigh Eric Schmidt, “The Easter Parade: Piety, Fashion, and Display,” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 4, no. 2 (1994): 135–64, doi:10.2307/1123847.

Week 7 / Mar. 16: Mar. 23 Money

  • James Hudnut-Beumler, In Pursuit of the Almighty’s Dollar: A History of Money and American Protestantism (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

  • David Graeber, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, reprint ed. (Brooklyn: Melville House, 2012), ch. 11.


  • Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth (New York: Century, 1901), 1–46. Google Books

  • Michael O’Malley, Face Value: The Entwined Histories of Money and Race in America (Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2012).

Week 8 / Mar. 23 Mar. 30: African Americans

  • John M. Giggie, After Redemption: Jim Crow and the Transformation of African American Religion in the Delta, 1875-1915 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).

  • James Forman, “The Black Manifesto” (1969) and related documents. Episcopal Archives


  • John M. Giggie,“Buying and Selling with God: African American Religion, Race Records, and the Emerging Culture of Mass Consumption,” in Fitz Brundage, ed., Beyond Blackface (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

  • Robert S. Lecky and Elliott Wright, eds., Black Manifesto; Religion, Racism, and Reparations (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1969).

  • Edward E. Baptist, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism (New York: Basic Books, 2014).

Week 9 / Mar. 30: Mormons Sadly canceled due to snow

  • Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-Day Saints, 1830-1900, new edition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004), excerpts TBA.

  • David Charles Gore, “Profits of a Prophet: Toward Joseph Smith’s Political Economy,” in New Perspectives in Mormon Studies: Creating and Crossing Boundaries, ed. Eric Farrel Mason and Quincy D. Newell (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2013), 19–40.


  • Joseph Smith, Views on the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States (Salt Lake City: Jos. Hyrum Parry, 1886), 5–22. Internet Archive

  • Matthew Godfrey, Religion, Politics, and Sugar: The Mormon Church, the Federal Government, and the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, 1907-1921 (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2007).

  • Greg Umbach, “Learning to Shop in Zion: The Consumer Revolution in Great Basin Mormon Culture, 1847-1910,” Journal of Social History 38, no. 1 (October 1, 2004): 29–61. JSTOR

Week 10 / Apr. 6: Jews

  • Rebecca Kobrin, ed., Chosen Capital: The Jewish Encounter with American Capitalism (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012).

  • Jenna Weissman Joselit, The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture 1880-1950 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1994), ch. 5.


  • Jonathan D. Sarna, “‘A Sort of Paradise for the Hebrews’: The Lofty Vision of Cincinnati Jews,” in Ethnic Diversity and Civic Identity: Patterns of Conflict and Cohesion in Cinncinnati since 1820, ed. Henry D. Shapiro and Jonathan D. Sarna (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 131–64.

  • Andrew R. Heinze, Adapting to Abundance: Jewish Immigrants, Mass Consumption, and the Search for American Identity, reprint edition (New York: Columbia University Press, 1992).

  • Tony Michels, A Fire in Their Hearts: Yiddish Socialists in New York (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009).

  • Eli Lederhendler, Jewish Immigrants and American Capitalism, 1880-1920: From Caste to Class (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Week 11 / Apr. 13: Social Gospel

  • Paul T. Phillips, A Kingdom on Earth: Anglo-American Social Christianity, 1880-1940 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006).

  • Ralph E. Luker, The Social Gospel in Black and White: American Racial Reform, 1885-1912 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), ch. 10.


  • Charles Sheldon, In His Steps (Chicago: Advance Publishing, 1899). Google Books.

  • Susan Curtis, A Consuming Faith: The Social Gospel and Modern American Culture (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2001).

  • William Leach, Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture (New York: Vintage Books, 1994).

  • Douglas Carl Abrams, Selling the Old-Time Religion: American Fundamentalists and Mass Culture, 1920-1940 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001).

  • Henry May, Protestant Churches and Industrial America (New York: Harper, 1949).

  • Bowman, Matthew. “Sin, Spirituality, and Privitism: The Theologies of the American Social Gospel, 1885-1917.” Religion and American Culture 17, no. 1 (2007): 95-126.

  • Michael Bourgeois, All Things Human: Henry Codman Potter and the Social Gospel in the Episcopal Church (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004).

Week 12 / Apr. 20: Catholic Workers

  • Kenneth J. Heineman, A Catholic New Deal: Religion and Reform in Depression Pittsburgh (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2005).

  • Marx, Capital, vol. 1, ch. 7, 10.

Pick one of the following:

  • Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-Day Saints, 1830-1900, new edition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004), chs 2 and 10.

  • Greg Umbach, “Learning to Shop in Zion: The Consumer Revolution in Great Basin Mormon Culture, 1847-1910,” Journal of Social History 38, no. 1 (October 1, 2004): 29–61. JSTOR


  • Mel Piehl, Breaking Bread: The Catholic Worker and the Origin of Catholic Radicalism in America (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982), esp. ch. 4.

  • Jon Gjerde, Catholicism and the Shaping of Nineteenth-Century America, ed. S. Deborah Kang (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), ch. 7.

  • Dan Mckanan, Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition (Boston: Beacon Press, 2011).

  • Ken Fones-Wolf, Trade Union Gospel: Christianity and Labor in Industrial Philadelphia, 1865-1915 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989).

  • David Burns, The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

  • Jarod Roll, Spirit of Rebellion: Labor and Religion in the New Cotton South (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010).

  • Selections from Dorothy Day, House of Hospitality (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1939), foreword, chs. 7, 8, 10. Dorothy Day Collection

Week 13 / Apr. 27: Prosperity Gospel

  • Kate Bowler, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).

  • Kathryn Lofton, Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), ch. 1.

Week 14 / May 4: Corporate Capitalism

  • Bethany Moreton, To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010).

  • Darren Grem, “The Marketplace Missions of S. Truett Cathy, Chick-Fil-A, and the Sunbelt South,” in Sunbelt Rising: The Politics of Place, Space, and Region, ed. Michelle M. Nickerson and Darren Dochuk, Politics and Culture in Modern America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 293–315.


  • Bruce Barton, The Man Nobody Knows (Indianapolis: Bobs-Merrill, 1925).

  • David W. Miller, God at Work: The History and Promise of the Faith at Work Movement (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).

  • David R. Swartz, Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism, Politics and Culture in Modern America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012).

  • Timothy Gloege, Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2015).