Dr. Steven Schroeder became a Pluralism Project affiliate in 1998 while teaching religion and philosophy at Capital University, Dayton Center. His project “Mapping the Miami Valley’s Religious Landscape” documented the cultural and religious diversity and resources of Ohio’s Miami Valley, with particular attention to the Dayton metropolitan area. Dr. Schroeder focused on two types of documentation, audio and still photography, with attention to both “explicit” and “implicit” religious expressions.
At the time of this research Dr. Schroeder wrote:
Ohio’s Miami Valley sits on the edge of Appalachia and has been a traditional gateway for people moving between that region and the Midwest. Appalachian Mountain religion is an often neglected stream of American religious tradition, and we are in a good position here to explore it as it encounters other traditions. This area has also been an important gateway for African-American migration from the southern United States (beginning with the Underground Railroad before the Civil War) and has been transformed by religious traditions with roots in southern African American communities. Anabaptist traditions are well represented here, as are many of the so-called “new” religious communities — Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Afro-Carribean, Zoroastrian — that have been the focus of the Harvard Pluralism Project; there is a substantial Jewish community and a deeply rooted Native American tradition.
The religious diversity of large metropolitan areas such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago has been reasonably well-documented, but smaller metropolitan areas such as Dayton are still often misperceived as religiously homogeneous. ‘Implicit’ religious dimensions of suburban sprawl and city design are often entirely overlooked in both large and small metropolitan areas: a metropolitan area as sharply divided as this one is a virtual laboratory for boundary formation that is explicitly and/or implicitly religious.
Today, Dr. Schroeder is a poet, visual artist, and instructor at the University of Chicago’s Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.
Selected Links and Publications
- Professional website: Dr. Steven Schroeder