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dc.contributor.authorMaddux, Kristjana
dc.description.abstractThis project elucidates and interrogates constructions of citizenship in contemporary Christian-themed mass media texts. Whereas Jürgen Habermas and Robert Putnam have bemoaned the decline in citizenship rational-critical deliberation in the public sphere for Habermas and community involvement for Putnam others have countered that their visions of decline are precipitated by a too-narrow view of citizenship and the public sphere. Beginning with a broadened approach to citizenship informed by Robert Asen’s discourse theory of citizenship. I look to these popular media texts for the models of citizenship they construct. I focus on Christian media in particular in part because of the popular narrative that frames evangelical Christians as a newly-potent political force and a newly-lucrative consumer demographic, but also in light of Putnam’s admission that regular churchgoers buck the trend of declining civic participation. I pursue close textual analysis of three case studies The Passion of the Christ, Left Behind, and The da Vinci Code concluding that they offer distinct models of citizenship. The Passion, I maintain, celebrates feminine submission as the faithful practice of citizenship. That film, which depicts the suffering death of Jesus Christ in careful detail, makes heroines of Jesus’s faithful followers whose trust in an omnipotent God allows and encourages them to submit to unjust rulers. Left Behind, conversely, models brutish masculinity as the faithful performance of citizenship. In those novels, the Christian heroes fight the antichrist with physical violence, and they explicitly chastise characters who prize intellect. Finally, The da Vinci Code does not offer a model of citizenship. Even though it has been widely feared for its political implicationsspecifically its radical feminism the novel’s preference for the private sphere leads it to privilege heterosexual reproduction as the performance of faithfulness. In the final chapter, I turn to the contemporary Christian backlash against the Christian Right as a way to read the political potential of the models of citizenship constructed by these mass media texts. Ultimately, I conclude that the models of citizenship offered by clergy, scholars, and elected officials share little in common with the models made so widely accessible through these media texts.
dc.subjectChristian Media
dc.subjectThe Passion of the Christ
dc.subjectThe Da Vinci Code
dc.subjectLeft Behind
dc.subjectfeminist criticism
dc.subjectrhetorical criticism
dc.titlePassionate publics
dc.title.alternativeChristian media and the construction of citizenship
dc.description.departmentSpeech Communication
dc.description.majorSpeech Communication
dc.description.advisorBonnie J. Dow
dc.description.committeeBonnie J. Dow
dc.description.committeePatricia Richards
dc.description.committeeJohn Murphy
dc.description.committeeChristine Harold
dc.description.committeeCeleste Condit

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