Religion and Media: Evangelicalism in the United States
Mainz, Summer Semester 2014
The United States throughout the centuries produced nationally renowned religious celebrities: from George Whitefield in the 18th century – who allegedly used newspapers for propaganda and created the personality cult – to modern-day TV moguls and mega-church pastors like the late Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority or Saddleback pastor Rick Warren. While enigmatic leaders have always exploited the channels of public-opinion-making, in this seminar we want to focus on how religious individuals and communities employed media to define themselves and their communities. Using the example of evangelical movements throughout US-history, we will test theories of differentiation and ask: How do religious actors define religious communities, through which concepts do they frame them, and what media do they use to disseminate their message?