Session 101

Richard P. Howard Lecture (7:00 p.m., Thursday, September 26)

Title: Discerning God’s Presence: Experiential Claims and Restorationist Movements in the Burned-Over District by Ann Taves

Abstract: This talk will review the more recent literature on the “Burned-Over District” to consider experiential aspects of the Restorationist movements as they were influenced by Methodism and Cane Ridge in upstate New York and northern Ohio. Diary entries written by a Methodist preacher assigned to the Bloomfield circuit (just south of Rochester) will be used to open a window on the local Methodist revivals in 1820.

Biographical Sketch: Ann Taves is a distinguished professor of religious studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is author of numerous books and articles, including “Fits, Trances, and Visions” (Princeton, 1999) and “Religious Experience Reconsidered” (Princeton, 2009).

Her most recent book, “Revelatory Events” (Princeton, 2016), compares the emergence of three new spiritual paths (Mormonism, Alcoholics Anonymous, and A Course in Miracles) and develops new methods for analyzing accounts of unusual experiences such as Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

Taves is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011), a past president of the American Academy of Religion (2010), and deputy general secretary of the International Association for the History of Religions (2015-2020).