Book News: Honey Boo Boo Edition
Over at ReligionDispatches, Carrie Allen Tipton has written a gracious and thoughtful review of my southern gospel book, Then Sings My Soul: The Culture of Southern Gospel Music. It’s not only the first serious academic review of the book to appear. It also manages to work in a Honey Boo Boo reference, which - being someone who, as a child, gleefully chased greased pigs in public and lived in a single-wide trailer with a lean-to addition and considered the wearing of shoes in summer a form of punishment - warms the cockles of my still-latently hillbilly heart. Money quote:
Harrison’s ultimate contribution is to take seriously the value systems and social identities of a powerful demographic often misunderstood in contemporary society. In doing so, the project resonates with special relevance in a culturally-fragmented election cycle that has seen the POTUS declare his vigorous support for gay marriage (to resounding applause and boos) and the religious right declare its vigorous support of Chick-fil-A (to resounding applause and boos).
The old hymn “Sweet By and By,” beloved in Southern Gospel circles, promises that “in the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.” During this crucial iteration of the culture wars, which never seem to be quite fully won nor yet fully lost, Harrison’s book complicates our sense of who “we” are and where that “beautiful shore” may be. He makes us believe that even within fundamentalist evangelicalism, these borders are not nearly so fixed as we might have supposed, and that they may yet be open to crossing.
Tipton has a few thoughts on y’all’s reaction to the book as well. Check it out. Full text here.Email this Post