Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

"Nostalgia Without Memory": A Case Study of American Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Slagle, Amy (2008) "Nostalgia Without Memory": A Case Study of American Converts to Eastern Orthodoxy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (2MB) | Preview


This dissertation explores the ascribed social meanings and processes of conversion among contemporary American converts to Eastern Orthodoxy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Employing the ethnographic field methods of participant observation and interviewing at two primary fieldsites, a Greek Orthodox and Orthodox Church in America parish, I examine how converts, as choice-makers using consumer-like strategies and print/electronic media to study and compare religious options, reflect and effect change in communities commonly regarded in the United States as preserving the languages and customs of various immigrant groups from Eastern, Southeastern Europe, and the Middle East. Much of the existing scholarly literature on Eastern Orthodoxy in the United States characterizes it as an ancient, unchanging form of Christianity that is highly resistant to the conditions of what religion scholars refer to as the "spiritual marketplace" of expansive religious diversity and individual choice-making in regard to religious affiliation. Yet, through the lens of conversion, I chart how the language and methods of the "marketplace" are taken-for-granted elements of church life, engrained in the words and actions of Orthodox clerics and lifelong church members in addition to converts themselves. Drawing upon the work of sociologist Ann Swidler, I argue that the marketplace remains one of the most powerful "toolkits" or "cultural repertoires," although by no means the only one, by which local Orthodox Christians in Pittsburgh have come to understand their religious lives and serves as a new means of gauging the influence and engagement of Orthodox Christianity with its surrounding American culture.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Slagle, Amyams41@pitt.eduAMS41
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairOrbach, Alexanderorbach@pitt.eduORBACH
Committee MemberShear, Adamashear@pitt.eduASHEAR
Committee MemberDeWalt, Kathleenkmdewalt@pitt.eduKMDEWALT
Committee MemberBakic-Hayden, Milicarees140@pitt.eduREES140
Committee MemberCondee, Nancycondee@pitt.eduCONDEE
Committee MemberKane, Paulapmk@pitt.eduPMK
Date: 16 June 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 11 April 2008
Approval Date: 16 June 2008
Submission Date: 19 April 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Religion (Cooperative Program in the study of)
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: conversion; Eastern Orthodoxy; Pittsburgh
Other ID:, etd-04192008-112632
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:39
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item