Lure of Images -- Kelly Baker

New Book: Lure of Images, by Kelly Baker

David Morgan, Phyllis and Richard Duesenberg Professor in Christianity and the Arts at Valparaiso University, has just published another book that demonstrates the importance of images, even mass-produced ones, in the religious lives of Americans. The Lure of Images: A History of Religion and Visual Media in America is now available from Routledge. Building on his previous works that examine religion and visual culture in America, this book examines mass produced religious media from the 1780s to today ranging from evangelical tracts to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

From Routledge’s website:

David Morgan explores the cultural marketplace of public representation, showing how American religionists have made special use of visual media to instruct the public, to practice devotion and ritual, and to form children and converts. Examples include:

Studying Jesus as an American idol
Jewish kitchens and Christian Parlors
Billy Sunday and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the anti-slavery movement.

This unique perspective reveals the importance of visual media to the construction and practice of sectarian and national community in a nation of immigrants old and new, and the tensions between the assimilation and the preservation of ethnic and racial identities. As well as the contribution of visual media to the religious life of Christians and Jews, Morgan shows how images have informed the perceptions and practices of other religions in America, including New Age, Buddhist and Hindu spirituality, and Mormonism, Native American Religions and the Occult.


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