Matthew Avery Sutton I was not terribly interested in defining religion or the sacred. My focus was on how what my subjects would define as their religious beliefs and convictions functioned. I focused on the work that their religion did.
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Lerone A. Martin During my research, I discovered that most scholarship on religious media focused primarily on the mediums of print, radio, and television. Moreover, these historical accounts almost exclusively detailed the experiences of white Protestants, while simultaneously ignoring race as an analytical category. This led me to write my dissertation and ultimately Preaching on Wax: an interwar narrative that de-centers whiteness and radio in the history of American religious broadcasting by explaining how black clergy, largely marginalized from radio on account of racial discrimination, made the phonograph a vital medium of religious broadcasting, a phenomenon I have dubbed phonograph religion.
The deepest roots of this book, Weird John Brown, are in my attempts to think about how to live as a white man in a United States that is so deeply disfigured by slavery and its legacies.
In our new interview series, we ask cultural theorists about what inspires them and how their latest work challenges our understanding of the sacred in American cultural life. For this segment, we chatted with Angela Tarango about her latest book, Choosing the Jesus