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Teaching Religion and Violence$
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Brian K. Pennington

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372427.001.0001

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Teaching Religion, Violence, and Pop Culture

Teaching Religion, Violence, and Pop Culture

(p.218) Chapter 9 Teaching Religion, Violence, and Pop Culture
Teaching Religion and Violence

Randal Cummings

Oxford University Press

This essay explores viable pedagogical approaches for teaching religion and violence through an examination of their pervasive but masked presence in North American popular culture. These themes present themselves profusely in a wide spectrum of popular media such as film, music, and the internet. This essay suggests theoretical, philosophical, and hermeneutical tools for training students to read popular media as religious texts and to perform a type of “cultural archaeology” on the paradigms these media both reflect and create. Students are encouraged to try and discern the covert, camouflaged, and implied presence of themes related to religion and violence. The theories of Rene Girard and Karl Marx are helpful to them in this regard, and the essay concludes with a discussion of the violence of poverty in the U.S. as a potential source for one important set of student insights.

Keywords:   cultural archaeology, Karl Marx, popular culture, poverty, Rene Girard, spirituality

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