Christianity and Popular Culture
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleFTR-RSMI212
Credits (ECTS)5
CategoryBA (Bachelor)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies; Opleiding Religiestudies;
prof. dr. H.J.M. Venbrux
Other course modules lecturer
dr. M.F. Westendorp
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. M.F. Westendorp
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2017
PER1-PER2  (04/09/2017 to 07/01/2018)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
After completing the course, you will:
  • have knowledge about the relation between popular culture, practices of spirituality and Christian tradition;
  • be able to recognize Christian images at turning points (death), in spiritual ways of life and in formative processes (education) in contemporary popular culture;
  • be able to apply models for analysis of a case about Christianity and Popular Culture;
  • be able to present a case according to the theoretical and analytic models used in the course.
In this course, the relation between Christianity and popular culture is explored. Departing from a conceptual model for the relationship between culture and religion, we deal with three possible forms, each of which will become visible in a concrete case study.

In the first part, we investigate Popular culture as religion (1): representations of the afterlife related to Christianity offer a source for spiritual experiences today.
In the second part we see religion in popular culture, using media representations of ethical and spiritual ways of life (2).
The third part draws our attention to popular culture in religion, using examples from religious education (3).
In the fourth part of the course, students are invited to present case studies from their own cultural surrounding (4). This case is described, presenting media material (thick description).

After that we critically reflect on concepts from the literature used in the course and self-selected sources related to the case (analysis).
Ba 1 certificate.

Recommended materials
Title:Christian Perspectives on Mass Media. In: Dabiel Stout & Judith M. Buddenbaum: Religion and popular culture. Studies on the interaction of worldviews
Author:Buddenbaum, Judith M.
Publisher:Ames: Iowa State University press, 2001
Title:Finding Religion in Unexpected Places. In: Forbes, Bruce David & Mahan, Jeffrey, Religion and popular culture in America
Author:Forbes, Bruce David
Publisher:Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000
Title:A place for the dead. 'Angels' and 'Heaven' in personalized eschatology. In A. Teodorescu & M. Rotar (Eds.), Dying and Death in 18th-21st century Europe (pp. 43-56)
Author:Quartier, Thomas
Publisher:Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2001
Title:Replicating the Holy Land in the U.S. (a 'materializing the Bible' road trip) in Material Religions
Author:Bielo, James
Title:Between Sacred and Profane. Researching Religion and Popular Culture
Author:Lynch, Gordon
Publisher:London & New York: I.B. Tauris, 2007

Instructional modes
Lecture and seminar
Attendance MandatoryYes

Lectures, seminars and presentations.

Written exam
Test weight1
Test typeExam
OpportunitiesBlock TENT2, Block TENT3