Evangelical Performance in Twenty-First-Century America
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Michigan Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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I am very grateful to many individuals and institutions for helping me to make this book a reality. First, I wish to thank the peer readers and edito-rial staff at the University of Michigan Press, especially LeAnn Fields and Alexa Ducsay. They have been incredibly supportive and helpful from the moment I contacted them about this project. I also wish to thank Ann Pel-...
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Introduction: Evangelical Performative Culture
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Mel Gibsonâs 2004 blockbuster film The Passion of The Christ not only cre-ated a media storm, but the popularity of this film among Christians, and particularly evangelical Christians, took many people by surprise. In the months before and immediately following its premiere, articles about the film dominated the mainstream press.1 This discourse engaged many im-...
1/ Embodied Belief, Affective Piety, and Evangelical Dramaturgy
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The performative genres I study in this book both reflect and engender re-ligious belief. I argue that they accomplish this, in great measure, through what I call evangelical dramaturgy, a system of performative tactics designed to manipulate the physical, rhythmic encounter between user and medium. gatherings of bodies as much as minds.Â .Â .Â . Effects are produced in the spec-...
2/ Energetic Enactments of Jesus
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As with all dramaturgical systems, evangelical dramaturgyâs tactics promote certain ways of seeing or experiencing the world. In the previous chapter, I argued that evangelical dramaturgy shapes the rhythmic points of con-tact between medium and user in order to create resonant and commodifi-able experiences. Those experiences orient the believer- userâs religious self- ...
3/ “Behold the Lamb” : Passion Playing, Intermediality, and the Gibson Affect
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Claire Sponslerâs work on Passion playing reveals the vexed history of this performance tradition in the United States. Publicly marketed, commercial Passion plays staged in the United States during the nineteenth and twenti-eth centuries often faced resistance. For example, Sponsler describes how an 1879 performance of Salmi Morseâs The Passion: A Miracle Play in Ten Acts, ...
4/ The “Great Passion Play” and Evangelical Blends
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The âGreat Passion Playâ is staged annually from May through October, five nights a week, in the Ozark Mountains of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. As the program explains, the production is modeled âin form and functionâ after the famous Passion play in Oberammergau, Germany, âto involve the local community to glorify God.â1 The two- hour play is performed on an open- air ...
5/ The Creation Museum as Engaged Orthodoxy
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Articles in popular media outlets have not only raised awareness about the $27 million Creation Museum, but such press coverage has also imbued the venue with important symbolic value. In a sense, the museum functions as a kind of shorthandâ a codeword for conservative Christianity or an emblem of political divisions within U.S. culture and politics generally.1 Like the ...
6/ Megachurches: Cultivating Affective Atmosphere
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In this final chapter I analyze the evangelical megachurch as a unique, high-ly visible, and incredibly persuasive performative genre. More specifically, I will demonstrate how each megachurch uses the strategies of evangelical dramaturgy to craft a synaesthetic space and worship experience that will reflect its specific âbrand.â In his study of the evolutionary origins of reli-...
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Throughout this project I attempted to understand U.S. evangelicalism by physically engaging its dramaturgy. I tried to open myself up to unfamiliarâ sometimes uncomfortableâ affective scripts in order to experience the felt solutions they are designed to offer and, thus, in Timothy Bealâs words, to find my way âinto the otherâs story.â1 None of the individual performative ...
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Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 18 illustrations
Publication Year: 2013