Author (Your Name)

Heather E. Miles, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Religious Studies Dept.




I, too, have tried to do a study on the beliefs and practices of Italian-American religion, but I have found such a means to be incapable of expressing what I have come to know about the religion of the contadini (peasants). For this reason, I have adopted a style which crosses the boundaries between my study and my life, between, "abstract argument" and "experience." My thoughts flow in and out of academic and personal reactions, encompassing novels and films, children's books and cookbooks, East and West--to produce an articulation of the Italian religion brought to America by the contadini. After all, Uecoli eHplains, "The folk religion of the contadini was no Sunday affair. Rather, it was a total system of beliefs and practices, a 'sacred cosmos,' in Thomos Luclemann's sense of the domain in which 'both the ultimate significance of everyday life and the meaning of extraordinary experiences are located'". This project tries to see what this religious life looked like, what happened to it in America, and the process of reclaiming it. After all, I don't wont a religion constricted to the time of one hour and the walls of the Church, but a religion which extends "all space and time."


Italian American Religion, Contadini