Sacred Wonderland


Thomas S. Bremer, Ph.D. has written two books, and a third book is expected soon. The first book was a dissertation converted to something more readable for academic and general audiences, and a second one is an overview of American religious history. The third book, Sacred Wonderland: The Story of Religion in Yellowstone, is a history of religion in Yellowstone National Park. Additional academic publications are listed below with links to PDF versions for some (let me know if you want a copy of something that is not posted).

Work in Progress

A book titled Sacred Wonderland: The Story of Religion in Yellowstone, under contract with the University of Nebraska Press, will examine the religious history of the world’s first national park. Additionally, an essay titled “Icons of Whiteness: Race and Religion in US National Parks” is under review for a collection of essays about religion in the American west edited by Brandi N Denison and Brett Hendrickson.

Published Books

Blessed with Tourists: The Borderlands of Religion and Tourism in San Antonio recounts the history of San Antonio, Texas, as a travel destination, with chapters on the history of the Alamo as a tourist site and on the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. My second book, Formed from this Soil: An Introduction to the Diverse History of Religion in America tells the story of the diverse sacred traditions and practices found throughout American religious history.

Reviews of Blessed with Tourists:

Blessed With Tourists

“This book is at once a fine biography of the evolution of an interesting American city and a revealing case study of the many links between religion and tourism and how modern market forces and the production, consumption, and expression of religion influence each other in so many ways. The subject is wonderful, the research is impeccable, and Bremer writes elegantly and accessibly.”
–Edward T. Linenthal, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

“Bremer does an excellent job of explaining the conflict among local residents, religious practitioners, and tourists. If you are planning a trip to San Antonio or want to know more about the Alamo City, get a copy of Blessed with Tourists.”
—Mexia Daily News

“Successful in examining a number of emerging themes in the study of religion and tourism, including the intersection between religion and capitalism, the production and consumption of religious sites by pilgrims and tourists, the process of resolution of contested interpretations of sacred sites, and secular interests in sacred sites.”
—The Professional Geographer

“The book is well written and accessible to a large audience and addresses current issues in American cultural studies, such as race and class. . . . Scholars . . . will find this book impressive and helpful for thinking about the relationship between religion and tourism.”
—Journal of American Folklore

Review of Formed from this Soil:

“Bremer’s text combines features that classroom teachers desire – including a clear chronological narrative as well as images and sidebars on fascinating historical characters and questions  – along with provocative challenges to conventional ways of thinking that students will bring to courses. The result is a text that should receive wide usage.”
–Paul Harvey, University of Colorado

Published articles and book chapters

The Religious Appeal of National Parks,” in The Routledge Handbook of Religious and Spiritual Tourism, ed. Daniel Olsen and Dallen Timothy, Routledge (2021): 166-178.

Black Robes and the Book of Heaven: When Christianity Went West,” in Church History and Religious Culture, volume 101 (2021): 80–100

Consider the Tourist,” in The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Religion and Materiality, ed. Vasudha Narayanan, Wiley-Blackwell (2020): 187-206.

Acadia National Park: A Soul and Spirit Stretching Place,” in Chebacco: The Magazine of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, volume XX (2019): 131-141.

Worshiping at Nature’s Shrine” in Practical Matters Journal (April 8, 2016).

The Modern Religiosity of the Newark Earthworks,” in The Newark Earthworks: Enduring Monuments, Contested Meanings, ed. Lindsay Jones and Richard D. Shiels, University of Virginia Press (2016): 198-212.

A Touristic Angle of Vision: Tourist Studies as a Methodological Approach for the Study of Religions,” in Religion Compass volume 8, issue 12 (December 2014): 371-379.

“Evangelical Park: Railroads, Profit, and Religion at Yellowstone,” in Ranger Magazine volume 30, number 2 (Spring 2014): 8-9.

 “Tourism and Pilgrimage,” in Encyclopedia of Religion in America, ed. Charles Lippy and Peter Williams, CQ Press (2010).

 “The Brother of Jesus in Toronto,” in Resurrecting the Brother of Jesus: The Rise, Fall and Religion of the James Ossuary, ed. Bernadette McNary-Zak and Ryan Byrne, University of North Carolina Press (2009): 31-58.

“A Touristic Spirit in Places of Religion,” in Faith in America: Changes, Challenges, New Directions, Volume 2: Religious Issues Today, ed. Charles H. Lippy, Greenwood (2006): 37-57.

“Lorraine Motel,” in American Icons: An Encyclopedia of the People, Places, and Things that have Shaped Our Culture, ed. Dennis R. Hall and Susan Grove Hall, Greenwood (2006): 419-424.

 “Sacred Spaces and Tourist Places,” in Tourism, Religion, and Spiritual Journeys, ed. Dallen Timothy and Daniel Olsen, Routledge (2006): 25-35.

“Tourism and Religion,” in The Encyclopedia of Religion, Second Edition, vol. 13, Editor in Chief Lindsay Jones, Macmillan Reference (2005): 9260-64.

“Reading the Sahagún Dialogues,” in Sahagún at 500: Essays on the Quincentenary of the Birth of Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún, ed. John Frederick Schwaller, Academy of American Franciscan History (2003): 11-29.

Il Genius Loci Ignotus di Eranos e la Creazione di un Luogo Sacro,” in Eranos, Monte Veritá, Ascona, ed. E. Barone, M. Riedl, and A. Tischel, Edizioni ETS, Pisa, Italy (2003): 71-76.

 “Tourists and Religion at Temple Square and Mission San Juan Capistrano,” in Journal of American Folklore volume 113, issue 450 (Fall, 2000): 422-35.

“Pilgrimage,” “San Juan de los Lagos, Nuestra Señora de,” “Talpa, Nuestra Señora del Rosario de,” and “Zapopan, Nuestra Señora de,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures, ed. Davíd Carrasco, Oxford University Press (2000).

“Sacrificial Slaughter and Dressing Up: Gender Articulations in Muslim Rituals,” in Religious Studies Review volume 22 (July, 1996): 209-13.