Religion Observed in Popular Film

  • Professor(s): Dr. Theodore Trost
  • When: 2007
  • Where: The University of Alabama / RS 124
  • Source
  • Religious language, themes, and rituals appear with surprising frequency in contemporary American films. How does an awareness of this religious dimension in a work of "popular culture" affect our interpretation of its meaning? What do these often subtle traces of religion suggest about the American character? And what does the broad popularity of these films say about the nature of being "religious" in America? These are the kinds of questions we will explore together in Religious Studies 124. We will focus on the enduring dialogue (or "debate," or even "culture war") between American culture and religious identity, or-in the language of the religious studies discipline-between the sacred and the profane. Our basic "texts" will be six films that have achieved box office or video rental success during the last twenty years. Our conversations about these films will be supplemented with careful readings of religious, cultural, and literary scholarship. The class will be conducted mainly as a seminar; it will also include occasional brief lectures.

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