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Robes, Fiery Cr osses, and the American The Materiality of the 1920s' Klan's Patriotism, and Intolerance

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Abstract:

Robes, fiery crosses, and the American flag were all material objects of the 1920s' Ku Klux Klan, and the order's artifacts, specifically its material religion, are suspiciously absent from Klan historiography. The Klan's religious nation, its Protestant America, became tangible, in its artifacts, and the order's intolerance emerges as a crucial component of the Klan's religious and national identity. This article explores not only the importance of objects in the 1920s' Klan and the religious and national emphases of the order's origins but also the theological and patriotic content of three Klan artifacts (the robes, the American flag, and the fiery cross). I argue that material religion and intolerance holds a central place in the 1920s' Klan as well as the contemporary Klan movement and assessing material objects allows us to engage more fully the exclusivist presentations of faith and nation in American nationalism.

Keywords: EXCLUSION; INTOLERANCE; KU KLUX KLAN; MATERIAL RELIGION; NATIONALISM; ROBES

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175183411X13172844495894

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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