CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY-BASED PERFORMANCE PRACTICES IN CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICA
Messer, Kristen Anne
Hildy, Franklin J
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This dissertation project examines contemporary North American conservative Christian performance practices. The study is in part ethnographic, taking into account the local context of these performances and attempting to situate their practices and techniques in relation to previous practices of religious performance, as well as within the field of community-based performance. Through contextualizing the performances discussed as part of ongoing theatrical/aesthetic conversations, interviewing participants, examining local and national press coverage, and in reading these events as locally rooted community-based performances, I explore why and how, when community-based and identity performance is often associated with the left and liberal concerns, it is thriving in communities that could, arguably, be understood as right and/or conservative. This study investigates how the elision of social and spiritual identity within the space of performance speaks to complex interactions between "American" identity and "American" spirituality.