Worlds of Brothers
Issue: Vol 2 No. 1 (2011)
Subject Areas: Religious Studies
To this point the history of fraternalism has, by in large, been investigated from the perspective of the nation state. Such an approach, while appropriate in many cases, is in others quite inadequate, especially given the fact that many fraternities are conceptualized and operate as global institutions. Their members are rooted in particular localities, to be sure, but they consciously identify themselves with organizations that transcend local and national boundaries. The challenge is, therefore, to explore fraternalism using multiple scales and units of analysis. This article surveys and assesses reigning approaches to the history of fraternalism by examining current scholarship, institutional developments, public history and popular culture. Then, drawing on examples from various fraternal organizations, it demonstrates that applying macro historical methodologies pays great dividends for our understanding of fraternalism as a historical phenomenon.
Author: Jessica Harland-Jacobs