Great Awakenings: Popular Religion and Popular Culture / Edition 1

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As religious fervor grows, Dr. Fishwick, a recipient of the Ray and Pat Browne Award for Lifetime Achievement from The American Culture Association, takes a sweeping look at religion in the United States—the country with the highest church attendance in the Western world. Popular religion can take many shapes and forms. It can wax and wane, but it cannot be eliminated or ignored. That is what prompted him to write Great Awakenings: Popular Religion and Popular Culture.

He ponders how religion affects American life and popular culture, and why religion has become a major force in contemporary politics. How has the Electronic Revolution furthered the religious right? What does popular religion tell us about popular culture? And about our faith?

He identifies and explores five great religious revivals or “Great Awakenings:”

  • the Atlantic Seaboard Awakening
  • the Urban Awakening
  • the Modernist Awakening
  • the Celebrity Preacher Awakening
  • the Electronic Awakening

    Fishwick explores the current events preceding and during each awakening, its leaders, followers, and critics. Great Awakenings gives a new understanding of the American religious past and leaves us with an anticipation for the next great awakening.

Taking a sweeping look at religion in America, Fishwick argues that popular religion can take many shapes and forms, it can wax and wane, but it cannot be eliminated or ignored. Fishwick fears that in recent times religion has become captive of the culture and its values. He deliver's his message with a mixture of humor, scholarly insight, and vivid writing.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Fishwick (humanities and communications studies, Virginia Polytechnic) states that popular religious revivals rise and recede in predictable patterns in the United States. The present one began with Reagan's election and has no end in sight. Fishwick reviews the major examples of his thesis, beginning with the Puritans, but concentrates on this century. Portraits of charismatic leaders (Fr. Coughlin, Aimee Semple McPherson, Jerry Falwell, etc.) dominate. Fishwick's indulgence in smug condescension toward these persons and their followers mars his argument, which is somewhat redeemed by a perceptive final chapter highlighting the dangers such revivals can present. Not a necessary purchase for most collections.-Richard S. Watts, San Bernardino Cty. Lib., Cal.
Fishwick (humanities and communications studies, Virginia polytechnic) explores how religion affects American life and popular culture, and discusses why religion has become a major force in contemporary politics. He finds a pattern in popular religious revivals in the US, and describes the five major "awakenings" since the middle of the 18th century and their leaders. Includes b&w photos of televangelists. Paper edition (1-56023-858-5), $17.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560238584
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/28/1994
  • Series: Haworth Popular Culture Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.35 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Table of Contents


  • Introduction
  • The Atlantic Seaboard Awakening
  • The Appalachian Awakening
  • The Urban Awakening
  • The New American Gospel
  • Confronting the Serpent
  • The Modernist Awakening
  • Civil Religion
  • Secular Salvation
  • Religion on the Airwaves
  • Star to the Stars
  • The Aging Eagle
  • The Electronic Awakening
  • Dixie’s Holy Warriors
  • The Chicken Little Panic
  • Big Mac and Big Jesus: Brave New McWorld
  • Some Final Thoughts
  • Further Information
  • Further Reading
  • Index
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