This introductory text provides students with a 'toolbox' of approaches for analyzing religion and popular culture. It encourages readers to think critically about the ways in which popular cultural practices and products, especially those considered as forms of entertainment, are laden with religious ideas, themes, and values. The chapters feature lively and contemporary case study material and outline relevant theory and methods for analysis. Among the areas covered are religion and food, violence, music, television and videogames. Each entry is followed by a helpful summary, glossary, bibliography, discussion questions and suggestions for further reading/viewing. Understanding Religion and Popular Culture offers a valuable entry point into an exciting and rapidly evolving field of study.
"This volume is a particularly useful and worthwhile addition to the growing literature examining the intersection of religion and popular culture. Accessible for the beginner yet insightful for the veteran, it's a good read to boot!" - Eric Michael Mazur, Virginia Wesleyan College, USA
"As we move further into the new century, it becomes ever more important to understand how religions are changing. This book gives valuable insights into the ways that religions are today remade through popular media." - Stewart M. Hoover, University of Colorado at Boulder, USA
Introduction: What is Religion? What is Popular Culture? How Are They Related? Terry Ray Clark 1. Saved by Satire? Learning to Value Popular Culture's Critique of Sacred Traditions Terry Ray Clark 2. Religion and Ecology in Popular Culture Dell deChant 3. Religion in Science Fiction Film and Television Douglas E. Cowan 4. Religion and Cinema Horror Douglas E. Cowan 5. On the Sacred Power of Violence in Popular Culture Eric Bain-Selbo 6. On the Job and Among the Elect: Religion and the Salvation of Sipowicz in NYPD Blue Dan W. Clanton, Jr. 7. The Critical Study of the Myth of Star Wars John C. McDowell 8. Religion and Video Games: Shooting Aliens in Cathedrals Rachel Wagner 9. The Coca-Cola Brand and Religion Jeffrey Scholes 10. What Makes Music Christian? Hipsters, Contemporary Christian Music and Secularization Courtney Wilder and Jeremy Rehwaldt 11. Lord of the Lembas: A Study of What’s Cooking in Pop Culture Jonathan Sands Wise 12. Cursing Then and Now: Jeremiah's Scroll and the Boston Red Sox Jersey (Can the Bible Shed Light on Pop Culture Practices?) Terry Ray Clark 13. Postmodern Prophecy: Bob Dylan and the Practices of Self-Subversion Mark W. Flory