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Indiana University Bloomington
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Hutton Honors College

 — Indiana University

Religion in Popular and Political Cultures

April 2, 2013

What do sports, Coca-Cola, and rock 'n' roll have in common? They are all used as examples of theoretical models for the study of religion by religious studies professor David Chidester. What role did religion play in making apartheid possible and bringing about its end? What role does religion play in making violence—against others or oneself—possible? in preventing it? What counts as religion? What makes a religion authentic? Students joined David Chidester for lunch and a discussion of his work on religion in American and South African cultures.


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In his book, Salvation and Suicide: Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and Jonestown, published by the Indiana University Press, David Chidester explored the "layers of strategic denial" that participants in the mass suicide-murder experienced in 1978 that claimed more than 900 lives. His other major publications include Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture; Savage Systems: Colonialism and Comparative Religion in Southern Africa; and Wild Religion: Tracking the Sacred in South Africa.


Extracurriculars Home | Pictures from Recent Programs