Print Culture Annual Lecture and Religion in Print Symposium at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Annual Lecture: Erin A. Smith, Associate Professor, American Studies and Literature and Associate Director of the Gender Studies Program, University of Texas at Dallas.
Friday April 10, 2009, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Special Collections Library, 9th Floor, Memorial Library, 728 State Street, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
One Publishers Weekly headline in 2004 trumpeted: “The New Gnosticism: An Ancient Heresy is All the Rage.” At the time, Dan Brown’s thriller, The Da Vinci Code, had been at the top of the fiction bestseller list for over a year and Elaine Pagels’s Beyond Belief topped the nonfiction list. This lecture examines how one religious reading group affiliated with a large Unitarian-Universalist church appropriated these texts to create individual and collective religious identity narratives. Through book discussion, readers explored what it meant to be women in a patriarchal religious culture and what it meant to be embattled religious liberals in the Bible belt. These texts offered readers access to a suppressed history of women as spiritual agents and provided a roadmap for seeking enlightenment through spiritual practice rather than right belief. These ways of creating a usable religious past have profound consequences for contemporary cultural politics. Although reading these books (re)created oppositional, liberal religious identities for UUs, their ways of reading bore a striking family resemblance to evangelical ways with words.
This lecture is presented in conjunction with “Religion in Print: A Symposium and Exhibit,” curated by the Print Culture Society, http://specialcollections.library.wisc.edu/exhibits/.
Director: Christine Pawley,
Center for the History of Print Culture
University of Wisconsin-Madison
School of Library and Information Studies
Room 4234 Helen C. White Hall
600 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 263-2945
Fax: (608) 263-4849
email@example.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at http://slisweb.lis.wisc.edu/~printcul/index.html
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