University of Delaware History Home | Arts & Sciences Home | UD Home

photo
Department of History
ud v
v
vvvvv

ABOUT UD HISTORY

Department Information

Undergraduate Programs

Graduate Programs

Special Programs

Affiliated Programs

Faculty List

Courses List

 

ud
v v
ud
ududvudv
ud

RESOURCES

for Students

for Faculty

for Alumni

 

ud

Tracy Birdwell

  • Ph.D. Program, American History
  • email

Tracy Birdwell

Education
Vanderbilt University, B.A., History, 1998; University of Delaware, M.A., History 2000.

Advisor
Christine Heyrman

Dissertation Title
"Cherokee Reckonings: Native Preachers, Protestant Missionaries, and the Shaping of an American Indian Religious Culture, 1801-38"

Dissertation Summary
This dissertation explores the various ways that the southeastern Cherokee interpreted and experienced Christianity in the early 19th century. Knowledge of Christian traditions first spread among the Cherokee when Protestant missionaries preached among them after the American Revolution. By the 1820s several denominations had erected their own mission schools and established regular Sabbath meetings. In the hearts and practices of hundreds of Cherokee faithful, Christian ideas began to commingle with Cherokee customs. I seek to understand how these Cherokee converts conceived of Christianity in the context of their native traditions; what aspects of Christianity appealed to these Cherokee; which Christian customs they rejected, and why. Most Christian inspired Cherokee did not discard their sense of Cherokee spirituality as they adopted new religious practices. I seek to uncover which of their own traditions they maintained along with their Christian beliefs. My dissertation also pays close attention to how Christianity influenced Cherokee social relations, created new loyalties among kin and clan members, and altered concepts of gender.