Remembering and Restoring the Past to Ensure the Future: Religious Sites of Minneapolis and St. Paul
with Marilyn J. Chiat Ph.D. and Jeanne Halgren Kilde Ph.D.
October 20, 2022, 12:00pm-1:10pm CDT
free and open to the public
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What do the histories of, and the continued research on, various local congregations and houses of worship in Minneapolis-St. Paul teach us about how communities are created, relationships are built, and how inter- and intra- congregational interactions are lived out? In this presentation, Dr. Marilyn J. Chiat and Dr. Jeanne Halgren Kilde will draw upon their Twin Cities Houses of Worship Project, which brings together data on over 250 congregations and over 500 sites related to religious and ethnic groups who settled and developed nine neighborhoods along the Mississippi River in St. Paul and Minneapolis between 1849 and 1924. They will focus on their current partnership with three Christian churches in North Minneapolis which were established in the 1960s in buildings erected in the 1920s and 30s by immigrant Orthodox Jews. This partnership, which developed in order to nominate these three buildings to the National Register of Historic Places, demonstrates how historical and architectural research can bring scholars, leaders, and activists together across lines of religious and ethnic difference in efforts to restore, remember, and revitalize historic houses of worship in our region.
Marilyn J. Chiat, Ph.D. received her doctorate in Art History from the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation on ancient synagogue architecture was published by Brown University under the title Handbook of Synagogue Architecture. Her focus is on the role religious architecture plays in their communities, providing insight into the history of their congregants and the larger cultural context in which they exist. She has published and lectured widely on this topic here and abroad. Among her other publications is America’s Religious Architecture: Sacred Places for Every Community, commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and published by John Wiley & Sons, The Sacred Traveler: Chicago and Illinois, part of the Sacred Traveler Series published by Paulist Press, and North American Churches from Chapels to Cathedrals, published by Publications International. She has also appeared in a number of public television documentaries including Cornerstones: A History of North Minneapolis and the Emmy Award winning Iron Range: Minnesota Building America.
Jeanne Halgren Kilde, Ph.D. is the Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Minnesota. A cultural historian of religion in the United States, Kilde holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She teaches courses at the University on U.S. religious history, religious ritual and sites, and theory and method in the study of religions. Her primary research focus is on religious space and architecture. Among her publications are When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship (Oxford University Press, 2002); Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture (Oxford University Press, 2008); and Nature and Revelation: A History of Macalester College (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). Her recent work focuses on religious diversity and space in the U.S. Her article on the Islamophobic, “mosque in Manhattan,” situation in 2010, appeared in the online journal Religions in 2011. She is currently editing the Handbook of Religious Space and Place, for Oxford University Press, and working with Marilyn Chiat, Ph.D., on Houses of Worship in the Twin Cities, a digital research project examining interactions among religious and ethnic groups in the Twin Cities from 1849–1924. Her most recent publication, “For Sale or Let: Religious Space as Commodity in a Globalized World,” in Sacred Architecture in East and West (2019), draws upon the research from the Houses of Worship Project.
Sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interreligious Studies, the Department of Art History, the Department of Theology, and the Center for the Common Good (all at the University of St. Thomas), with generous support from the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota.