The Postmodern Sacred: Popular Culture Spirituality in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Urban Fantasy Genres

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McFarland, Oct 11, 2012 - Literary Criticism - 194 pages
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From The Matrix and Harry Potter to Stargate SG:1 and The X-Files, recent science fiction and fantasy offerings both reflect and produce a sense of the religious. This work examines this pop-culture spirituality, or "postmodern sacred," showing how consumers use the symbols contained in explicitly "unreal" texts to gain a secondhand experience of transcendence and belief. Topics include how media technologies like CGI have blurred the lines between real and unreal, the polytheisms of Buffy and Xena, the New Age Gnosticism of The DaVinci Code, the Islamic "Other" and science fiction's response to 9/11, and the Christian Right and popular culture. Today's pervasive, saturated media culture, this work shows, has utterly collapsed the sacred/profane binary, so that popular culture is not only powerfully shaped by the discourses of religion, but also shapes how the religious appears and is experienced in the contemporary world.
 

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Contents

The Return of the Religious and the Postmodern Sacred
1
The Postmodern Sacred
21
Virtual Religion Techniques of the Postmodern Sacred
31
Something Up There Transcendental Gesturing in New AgeIn fluenced Texts
43
Of Gods and Monsters Metaphor and the Postmodern Sacred
64
Buffy and Xena Polytheisms OnScreen
80
Whither Leonardo da Vinci? New Age Gnosticism
98
Christ Figures and the Messianic in The Lord of the Rings
108
The Cultural Logic of Postmodern Christianity The Christian Right and Popular Culture
117
The Islamic Other and SFF Responses to 911
130
Good Evil and Ethics Morality and All That Stuff
143
Is There an Outside to Capital?
154
Chapter Notes
165
Bibliography
173
Index
187
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About the author (2012)

Emily McAvan teaches cultural, media and gender studies at Murdoch University and Curtin University, both in Perth, Australia. Her work on religion and culture has appeared in print in The Journal of Literature & Theology, The Bible and Critical Theory, and The Journal of Postcolonial Writing.

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