Looking for an example of how not to study religion? Then consider the case of hypocrisy that recently swept through the internet. Continue reading ““Come and See the Contradictions Inherent in the System””
The media here in the U.S. is currently filled with stories marking the 20th anniversary of the massacre of scores of the minority Tutsis in Rwanda, at the hands of dominant Hutus. Begun after the deadly April 6, 1994, attack on President Habyarimana‘s plane — a Hutu himself — 800,000 Tutsis (the number usually reported) were scapegoated in the following weeks, many killed by neighbors or hacked to death with machetes…, an atrocious event by any measure, no doubt. Continue reading “Making the Familiar Grotesque”
What sparked your initial interest in exploring what drives the “political power” of the New Christian Right (NCR) and Concerned Women for America (CWA)? How are such groups commonly approached and analyzed in scholarly discourse and the larger public imagination?
As with many scholars, I suppose, my interest in politically active conservative Christianity (a.k.a, the NCR) is at least somewhat autobiographical. I grew up in a social environment steeped in conservative evangelicalism, and so the claims made by these groups – namely, the valorization of the entire spectrum of conservative politics, including a religiously-rooted patriotism, traditional gender roles, and the superiority of the heterosexual, nuclear family – were not new to me. In a very direct sense, then, my interest in these groups began when, as an undergraduate religious studies major, I was seeking to better understand the appeal of conservative evangelical ideas and their political impact. Continue reading ““New Books on the Edge” with Leslie Dorrough Smith”
Did you catch the news stories about U.S. President Obama meeting Pope Francis earlier today? While I have trouble imagining that the so-called “leader of the free world” meets with just anyone, given his hectic schedule, it’s interesting how far the press goes, in a curiously coordinated effort, to reproduce the rhetoric of simplicity that is so important to reproducing the authority of the Pope — all the while ensuring that we also know he’s important enough (and equipped) to entertain world leaders, of course. Continue reading “Simple Men with Simple Needs”
If you happen to think that all social life — including our emotional responses to situations — is, for lack of a better word, manipulated to one degree or another, whether by intention (e.g., another social actor’s rhetoric) or non-agential structures in which we live and move (e.g., the rules of grammar, class relations, nationalism, etc.), then a headline like “How Elevation Church, Pastor Furtick produce ‘spontaneous’ baptisms” will probably strike you as curious for reasons far different from how many others read it. Continue reading “Runnin’ Away With Me…”
This old image recently made the rounds again in my Facebook feed, and I shared it myself. It got me into a little bit of an argument on one of my friends’ wall. The objection was along these lines: if we water down “feminism” to gender equity, which pretty much everyone can agree to these days, then it becomes meaningless—it’s not substantial enough of a vision to drive a real agenda. Continue reading “Reorganizing Sympathies”
(You really should play the song below while you read this post. For the full audio-visual experience.)
A routine turn of phrase in the English language is to enhance a claim by using the metaphor of depth — thoughts can be deep, the hero looks deeply into his love’s eyes, or “deep down, I feel that…”. Conversely, of course, a lack of such depth signifies insincerity and probably insufficient intelligence — after all, “Shallow Hal” was a movie all about overcoming a preoccupation with surface appearances, learning instead to see true, “inner beauty.” Continue reading “How Deep is Your Love?”
Put it down to sloppy reading, perhaps, or more likely early-adolescent titillation that causes one to skip ahead, read every third word, and hope that there’s pictures on the next page, but I admit that when I first got the technical specs on “where babies come from” — yes, from a book that my mom gave me and yes, there were tastefully drawn pictures with, wait for it…, anatomic precision — I was puzzled by why it was called “public hair.” Continue reading “The Birth of Irony”
“On the Spot” backs members of Culture on the Edge into a corner to talk about their backgrounds, their ongoing work, and what might be gained by an alternative understanding of how identity works.
Q: Leslie, you have a book out soon that is on the way a certain rhetoric of chaos vs. order is used by some groups in the U.S. to organize themselves, by distinguishing their members from others, their preferences from others, and their values from others. Is that a fair (if general) description of your project? Could you tell us more?
A: Yes – this is a fairly unorthodox approach to a very mainstream subject. The book, which is about the rhetoric of one Christian Right group, is entitled Righteous Rhetoric: Sex, Speech, and the Politics of Concerned Women for America (Oxford, 2014). Continue reading “On the Spot with Leslie Dorrough Smith”
Have you seen this beer new commercial? Continue reading “A Character Study”