What does it mean to be an American during this time of ongoing challenges of race and sex discrimination, of violence and gross disparities in economic opportunity? And where are the activists who traditionally rallied against the ills of America--the democrats, progressives and leftists--to seize upon these enemies?
In Sweet Dreams in America, Sharon Welch charts a way for people in power to inspire others and themselves, even if the goals of a gradually improving society and of achieving social justice seem illusory. The author links political work to spirituality, showing how we can channel the sense of being connected to forces outside ourselves to a larger good.
Sharon D. Welch is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Women's Studies University of Missouri-Columbia. She is the author of A Feminist Ethic of Risk (1990) and Communities of Resistance and Solidarity (1985.
"Sharon Welch's new book, Sweet Dreams in America: Making Ethics and Spirituality Work, is a brave book." -- Janet Jakobsen, Journal of the American Academy of Religion
"Welch utilizes a whole array of sources to create an ethic stability but is open ended..." -- Theological Studies
"In this wise and compassionate text, Welch blends a primer on multicultural education with a strong and yet constructive internal critique of feminism, accomplished through a sustained dialogue with jazz and the blues. This is ahighly original project, finely conceived, gracefully executed, and stamped with the seal of extensive personal experience in social activism. With this book, Welch further hones an already distinctive feminist sensibility and emerges as a cultural critic of singular importance." -- Paul Lakeland, Fairfield University
"Welch challenges educators and cultural workers to rethink the foundations of moral action in order to foster new models of social change that will lead to social justice. Sweet Dreamsis a lyrical and moving account of the pressing philosophical, moral, and political issues now confronting us. Grounded in an affirmation of life and a rejection of cynical reason, Sweet Dreams in America is a powerful story of hope." -- Peter McLaren, Professor, University of California, Los Angeles and author of Revolutionary Multiculturalism
"Drawing on jazz as a primary resource, Welch provides a constructive model for an activist, spiritually informed ethics in a post modern, pluralistic and multicultural world. An ethics without virtue, a spirituality without God, Sweet Dreams in America serves up a refreshing alternative to typical feminist and leftist responses to post modern critique. A delight to read, filled with hope, a performance in its own right, the book is a must-read for religious and political activists on the left, for scholars and students of theology, theological ethics, and feminist studies, and for jazz-lovers everywhere." -- Paula Cooey, Trinity University
"Author Sharon D. Welch, a professor of religious studies and women's studies, has compiled a series of her essays that asks activists in a multicultural America to think about how to move "from the politics of protest to the very different challenges of building institutions"(p.xxi). She tackles issues of power, chaos, and social change as she develops a moral vocabulary to use in naming new ways of acting that are based upon "a nondualistic understanding of good and evil"(p.xi). This concept of nondualism is at the heart of Welch's thesis of how to make ethics and spirituality work." -- Harvard Educational Review