Sacred Circles, Public Squares

Sacred Circles, Public Squares

The Multicentering of American Religion
Arthur E. II Farnsley, N. J. Demerath III, Etan Diamond and Mary L. Mapes
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 01/07/2005
Format: Hardback 7 b&w photos, 10 maps, 1 bibliog., 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-34472-4
Bookmark and Share

Other formats available:

Buy from Amazon


This study of the religious landscape of Indianapolis—the summative volume of the Lilly Endowment’s Project on Religion and Urban Culture conducted by the Polis Center at IUPUI—aims to understand religion’s changing role in public life. The book examines the shaping of religious traditions by the changing city. It sheds light on issues such as social capital and faith-based welfare reform and explores the countervailing pressures of "decentering"—the creation of multiple (sub)urban centers—and civil religion’s role in binding these centers into one metropolis.

Polis Center Series on Religion and Urban Culture—David J. Bodenhamer and Arthur E. Farnsley II, editors

Author Bio

Arthur E. Farnsley II is an independent researcher and consultant, as well as adjunct professor of Sociology and Religion at IUPUC. He is author of Southern Baptist Politics: Authority and Power in the Restructuring of an American Denomination and Rising Expectations: Urban Congregations, Welfare Reform, and Civic Life (Indiana University Press, 2003).

N. J. Demerath III is Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His books include Crossing the Gods: World Religions and Worldly Politics; Sacred Companies: Organizational Aspects of Religion and Religious Aspects of Organizations (edited with Peter Hall, Terry Schmitt and Rhys Williams); and A Bridging of Faiths: Religion and Politics in a New England City.

Etan Diamond is a social historian whose research interests lie at the intersection of urban history and the history of religion. He is author of And I Will Dwell in Their Midst: Orthodox Jews in Suburbia and Souls of the City: Religion and the Search for Community in Postwar America (Indiana University Press, 2003).

Mary L. Mapes is Adjunct Professor of History at Lake Forest College and author of A Public Charity: Religion and Social Welfare in Indianapolis (Indiana University Press, 2004)

Elfriede Wedam is visiting lecturer in the Honors College at the University of Illinois, Chicago.


“This study of the religious landscape of Indianapolis aims to understand religion's changing role in public life. It sheds light on faith-based welfare reform and points to civil religion's part in binding urban and suburban centers into one metropolis.”

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

1. Introduction
2. The Circle City on the Plains
3. Religious Civility, Civil Religion
4. Religious Traditions Diversified and Domesticated
5. Types and Tensions of Congregational Life
6. Back Home Again: Religion in the Neighborhoods
7. Conclusion: Religion and Urban Culture