Popular Culture

Podcast

May the Fourth Be With You

To honor May the Fourth, International Star Wars Day, please enjoy this compilation of classic Religious Studies Project interviews about Star Wars!
Podcast

Representations of Religious Studies in Popular Culture

Given that popular cultural representations are more likely to shape public perceptions about what the study of religion is and who does it than either direct experience in the classroom or statistics about graduation rates and job placements, we hope that you will agree that we should try to understand what these perceptions are. In this podcast, Chris speaks with Professors Brian Collins and Kristen Tobey about this fascinating and important topic.
Podcast

Muslim Superheroes

A. Dave Lewis joins us again for a discussion of representations of Muslims in superhero comics. We talk about some positive representations, like Kamala Khan, Marvel's new Ms Marvel, and some less-than-positive portrayals, like Frank Millar's Holy Terror!
Podcast

Drawn to the Gods – Religion, Comedy and Animated Television Programs

In this podcast Associate Professor David Feltmate, author of Drawn to the Gods: Religion and Humor in The Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy, chats to Breann Fallon about the manner in which these three television shows create a broad commentary on religion for the general public.
Podcast

Popular Culture, Dr. Who, and Religion

Go back to 2013 to discuss Religion & Pop Culture (and #DoctorWho) w/@ReligionProf It's a big universe, and sometimes things get lost in time and space. For instance, this 2013 interview with Dr. James F. McGrath was recorded
Podcast

From the Ku Klux Klan to Zombies

Many of us only know about the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan through film and television, and much of what we see blurs fact and fiction. Distinguishing each side of that messy divide is the prolific Kelly J. Baker, exploring how media portrayals of the hate group have influenced audiences and, in turn, fed back on its own members.
Response

The Interplay of Religion and Popular Culture in Contemporary America

In exploring the interstices running along the contours of religion and popular culture researchers must not neglect the embodiment and praxis of religious expression in popular culture and vice-versa. There was a time when the realms of popular culture and religion did not meet — at least in an academic or analytic sense. The space betwixt, between, around, and interpenetrating each was relatively unexplored. Into that gap came God in the Details:
Response

Playing the Field: the Logistics of Religion and Video Game Studies

By studying only video games, we impede ourselves and the progress which can be made; there are many aspects of video games which are affecting other elements of popular culture. The field of religion and video games is still new and forming. In its struggle to find itself, it simultaneously competes with a university’s traditional understanding of both education and culture, often involving Gregory Price Grieve’s comment that video games are perceived as “low brow” culture.
Podcast

Video Games and Religious Studies

The project of legitimating new cultural commodities into the canon of interpretative objects can be lengthy process. In this interview with University of North Carolina at Greensboro Associate Professor Greg Grieve, video games are presented as a content moving from the margins to the center of the intersection of religion and popular culture.
Response

Conference Report (and rant): Fandom and Religion, Leicester, 2015

Conference report for The Religious Studies Project by our very own Venetia Robertson, RSP Editor and a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney. The University of Leicester hosted the Fandom and Religion conference this July 28-30 in affiliation with the Theology, Religion and Popular Culture network. A reasonably small conference with just over 30 presenters and 50 attendees, organisers Clive Marshall and Isobel Woodcliffe of Leicester’s Lifelong Learning Centre ran the event smoothly
Response

Pilgrimage as Tension

The reasons people might go on what they call ‘a pilgrimage’ are complex. Amusement may be as important as communion, escape from everyday life as important as prayer. But, and this is an important point that does not come up in the interview, they may not be the reasons a person may give when asked by fieldworking scholars. That we now understand that people undertake pilgrimages for more than pious reasons has been one of the most significant advances in ‘pilgrimage studies’ to date.
Podcast

Religion and Literature

How can studying literature help us to study religion? And what the question even mean? In this interview, Alana Vincent, Lecturer in Jewish Studies at the University of Chester, sets out some of the interesting intersections of these two fields.
Podcast

Studying Vernacular Religion in the US

Vernacular religion is a subject which fascinates us here at the RSP, because in keeping with our critical perspective, it challenges that idea that neat categorical boundaries may be drawn, and reminds us that when attempts are made to draw them, particular interests are being served.
Podcast

Demons, possessions, and exorcisms: Sean McCloud on “Spiritual Warfare”

How should one approach the study of demons and spiritual warfare? In this conversation with University of North Carolina, Charlotte professor Sean McCloud, demons, possessions, and exorcisms that might have once been considered fringe or marginal elements of the American religious scene are now part of a robust “haunted” or supernatural landscape.
Response

Stereotypes and Dangerous Rituals: A Reflection on the Academic Study of Serpent-Handling

"While Hollywood often takes a critical stance in the name of provocation and artistic freedom, scholars of particular social and cultural groups often find themselves working against the grain of collective assumptions." In one melancholic and chilling scene in director Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), leading man Brad Pitt’s rendition of the famous American outlaw sits outside his Missouri home.