In an examination of religion coverage in Time, Newsweek, Life, The Saturday Evening Post, Ebony, Christianity Today, National Review, and other news and special interest magazines, Sean McCloud combines religious history and social theory to analyze how and why mass-market magazines depicted religions as "mainstream" or "fringe" in the post-World War II United States. McCloud argues that in assuming an American mainstream that was white, middle class, and religiously liberal, journalists in the largest magazines, under the guise of objective reporting, offered a spiritual apologetics for the dominant social order. McCloud analyzes articles on a wide range of religious movements from the 1950s through the early 1990s, including Pentecostalism, the Nation of Islam, California cults, the Jesus movement, South Asian gurus, and occult spirituality. He shows that, in portraying certain beliefs as "fringe," magazines evoked long-standing debates in American religious history about emotional versus rational religion, exotic versus familiar spirituality, and normal versus abnormal levels of piety. He also traces the shifting line between mainstream and fringe, showing how such boundary shifts coincided with larger changes in society, culture, and the magazine industry. McCloud's astute analysis helps us understand both broad conceptions of religion in the United States and the role of mass media in American society.
Whether the issue is the rise of religiously inspired terrorism, the importance of faith based NGOs in global relief and development, or campaigning for evangelical voters in the U.S., religion proliferates in our newspapers and magazines, on our radios and televisions, on our computer screens and, increasingly, our mobile devices. Americans who assumed society was becoming more and more secular have been surprised by religions' rising visibility and central role in current events. Yet this is hardly new: the history of American journalism has deep religious roots, and religion has long been part of the news mix. Providing a wide-ranging examination of how religion interacts with the news by applying the insights of history, sociology, and cultural studies to an analysis of media, faith, and the points at which they meet, The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the American News Media is the go-to volume for both secular and religious journalists and journalism educators, scholars in media studies, journalism studies, religious studies, and American studies. Divided into five sections, this handbook explores the historical relationship between religion and journalism in the USA, how religion is covered in different media, how different religions are reported on, the main narratives of religion coverage, and the religious press.
The Encyclopedia of American Journalism explores the distinctions found in print media, radio, television, and the internet. This work seeks to document the role of these different forms of journalism in the formation of America's understanding and reaction to political campaigns, war, peace, protest, slavery, consumer rights, civil rights, immigration, unionism, feminism, environmentalism, globalization, and more. This work also explores the intersections between journalism and other phenomena in American Society, such as law, crime, business, and consumption. The evolution of journalism's ethical standards is discussed, as well as the important libel and defamation trials that have influenced journalistic practice, its legal protection, and legal responsibilities. Topics covered include: Associations and Organizations; Historical Overview and Practice; Individuals; Journalism in American History; Laws, Acts, and Legislation; Print, Broadcast, Newsgroups, and Corporations; Technologies.
Stories of contemporary exorcisms are largely met with ridicule, or even hostility. Sean McCloud argues, however, that there are important themes to consider within these narratives of seemingly well-adjusted people who attend school, go shopping, watch movies, and also happen to fight demons. American Possessions examines Third Wave spiritual warfare, a late twentieth-, early twenty-first century movement of evangelicals focused on banishing demons from human bodies, material objects, land, regions, political parties, and nation states. While Third Wave beliefs may seem far removed from what many scholars view as mainstream religious practice, McCloud argues that the movement provides an ideal case study for identifying some of the most prominent tropes within the contemporary American religious landscape. Drawing on interviews, television shows, documentaries, websites, and dozens of spiritual warfare handbooks, McCloud examines Third Wave practices such deliverance rituals (a uniquely Protestant form of exorcism), spiritual housekeeping (the removal of demons from everyday objects), and spiritual mapping (searching for the demonic in the physical landscape). Demons, he shows, are the central fact of life in the Third Wave imagination. McCloud provides the first book-length study of this influential movement, highlighting the important ways that it reflects and diverts from the larger, neo-liberal culture from which it originates.
Placing the neglected issue of class back into the study and understanding of religion, Sean McCloud reconsiders the meaning of class in today's world. More than a status grounded in material conditions, says McCloud, class is also an identity rhetorically and symbolically made and unmade through representations. It entails relationships, identifications, boundaries, meanings, power, and our most ingrained habits of mind and body. He demonstrates that employing class as an analytical tool that cuts across variables such as creed, race, ethnicity, and gender can illuminate American religious life in unprecedented ways. Through social theory, historical analysis, and ethnography, McCloud makes an interdisciplinary argument for reinserting class into the study of religion. First, he offers a new three-part conception of class for use in studying religion. He then presents a focused cultural history of religious studies by examining how social class surfaced in twentieth-century theories of religious affiliation. He concludes with historical and ethnographic case studies of religion and class. Divine Hierarchies makes a convincing case for the past and present importance of class in American religious thought, practice, and scholarship.
Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam came to America's attention in the 1960s and 1970s as a radical separatist African American social and political group. But the movement was also a religious one. Edward E. Curtis IV offers the first comprehensive examination of the Nation of Islam's rituals, ethics, theologies, and religious narratives, showing how the movement combined elements of Afro-Eurasian Islamic traditions with African American traditions to create a new form of Islamic faith. Considering everything from bean pies to religious cartoons, clothing styles to prayer rituals, Curtis explains how the practice of Islam in the movement included the disciplining and purifying of the black body, the reorientation of African American historical consciousness toward the Muslim world, an engagement with both mainstream Islamic texts and the prophecies of Elijah Muhammad, and the development of a holistic approach to political, religious, and social liberation. Curtis's analysis pushes beyond essentialist ideas about what it means to be Muslim and promotes a view of the importance of local processes in identity formation and appropriations of Islamic traditions. Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam came to America's attention in the 1960s and 1970s as a radical separatist African American social and political group. But the movement was also a religious one. Edward E. Curtis IV offers the first comprehensive examination of the Nation of Islam's rituals, ethics, theologies, and religious narratives, showing how the movement combined elements of Afro-Eurasian Islamic traditions with African American traditions to create a new form of Islamic faith. Considering everything from bean pies to religious cartoons, clothing styles to prayer rituals, Curtis explains how the practice of Islam in the movement included the disciplining and purifying of the black body, the reorientation of African American historical consciousness toward the Muslim world, an engagement with both mainstream Islamic texts and the prophecies of Elijah Muhammad, and the development of a holistic approach to political, religious, and social liberation. Curtis's analysis pushes beyond essentialist ideas about what it means to be Muslim and promotes a view of the importance of local processes in identity formation and appropriations of Islamic traditions.
Anyone who seeks to understand the dynamics of culture and politics in the United States must grapple with the importance of religion in its many diverse and contentious manifestations. With conservative evangelicals forming the base of the Republican Party, racial-ethnic communities often organised along religious lines, and social-political movements on the left including major religious components, many of the country's key cultural-political debates are carried out through religious discourse. Thus it is misleading either to think of the US as a secular society in which religion is marginal, or to work with overly narrow understandings of religion which treat it as monolithically conservative or concerned primarily with otherworldly issues.In this volume, Mark Hulsether introduces the key players and offers a select group of case studies that explore how these players have interacted with major themes and events in US cultural history. Students in American Studies and Cultural Studies will appreciate how he frames his analysis using categories such as cultural hegemony, race and gender contestation, popular culture, and empire.Key Features:*Provides a concise introduction to the field*Balances a stress on religious diversity with attention to power conflicts within multiculturalism*Dramatizes the internal complexity and dynamism of religious communities*Brings religious issues into the field of cultural studies, building bridges that can enable more informed and constructive discussion of religion in these fields*Provides an integrated view of religion and its importance in recent US history.
Article abstracts and citations of reviews and dissertations covering the United States and Canada.
We Have a Religion: The 1920s Pueblo Indian Dance Controversy and American Religious Freedom
Conservative evangelicalism has transformed American politics, disseminating a sometimes fearful message not just through conventional channels, but through subcultures and alternate modes of communication. Within this world is a "Religion of Fear," a critical impulse that dramatizes cultural and political conflicts and issues in frightening ways that serve to contrast "orthodox" behaviors and beliefs with those linked to darkness, fear, and demonology. Jason Bivins offers close examinations of several popular evangelical cultural creations including the Left Behind novels, church-sponsored Halloween "Hell Houses," sensational comic books, especially those disseminated by Jack Chick, and anti-rock and -rap rhetoric and censorship. Bivins depicts these fascinating and often troubling phenomena in vivid (sometimes lurid) detail and shows how they seek to shape evangelical cultural identity. As the "Religion of Fear" has developed since the 1960s, Bivins sees its message moving from a place of relative marginality to one of prominence. What does it say about American public life that such ideas of fearful religion and violent politics have become normalized? Addressing this question, Bivins establishes links and resonances between the cultural politics of evangelical pop, the activism of the New Christian Right, and the political exhaustion facing American democracy. Religion of Fear is a significant contribution to our understanding of the new shapes of political religion in the United States, of American evangelicalism, of the relation of religion and the media, and the link between religious pop culture and politics.

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