Haloed by the nation: Popular martyrdom in contemporary America

Scott William Hoffman, Purdue University


This dissertation examines popular martyrdom, the process by which Americans have declared certain figures to be martyrs in a religious sense. Americans have used the media to transform an ancient Christian tradition of popularly proclaiming martyrs into a way to critique power relationships in contemporary society and to redefine American identity. This study, based upon archival research and deep readings of popular culture, improves our understanding of the role of popular religion in contemporary America. It also contributes to broader debates about the definition of citizenship and Americans' relationship to the mass media.




Curtis, Purdue University.

Subject Area

American studies|American history|Sociology

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