Institutional Individualism: Conversion, Exile, and Nostalgia in Puritan New England

By: Kaufmann, Michael

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Traditional approaches to American history and letters see colonial religious institutions as a coercive force that produced an illusion of freedom aimed at achieving political dominance more than religious truth. Challenging these approaches, Michael Kaufman argues that modern notions of freedom arise out of an individual's affiliation with-rather than domination by-religious institutions. He posits a new way of seeing the paradoxical relationship of individuals and institutions by examining the New England Puritans' commitment to change in the individual, which took the form of spiritual conversion, and to change in the church and state, which took the form of challenges to institutional hierarchies. His focus on the lives, writings, and roles of Anne Hutchinson, John Cotton, and Roger Williams allows him o reinterpret concepts he says have long been accepted, often uncritically, as historical "givens" in American studies: ideas of identity, individualism, autonomy, submission, oppression, patriarchy, and affiliation. Arguing that individuals exert their influences not only by making choices about which institutions to join, but also by re-imagining their relations to patriarchal authority, Kaufmann provides new ways of evaluating institutional affiliations in Puritan culture, and, implicitly, in our own.

Title: Institutional Individualism: Conversion, Exile, and Nostalgia in Puritan New England

Author/Composer: Kaufmann, Michael

Categories: History American,

Publisher: Wesleyan: 1998-11-01

ISBN Number: 0819563501

ISBN Number 13: 9780819563507

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition: New

Jacket Condition: No Jacket

Type: Paperback

Seller ID: 003717

Description: New trade paperback copy. From the introduction: This book aims to reopen for examination concepts that have long been accepted, often uncritically, as historical givens in Puritan studies: individualism (and related ideas such as self, subjectivity, identity, autonomy, and independence) and institutionalism (and related ideas such as patriarchy, submission, oppression, and affiliation). Wesleyan University Press, Middletown CT, 1999. 167 pages, 9 x 6 inches, 23 cm. This edition is currently out of print. Free shipping on domestic orders $25 and over!

Keywords: Puritan, Individualism, Colonial America, Michael Kaufman,