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.

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  1. Wade wrote:


  2. Wade wrote:

    Great review — even I could understand it!!

    Great Work and Congrats again!!

    I am always happy to refer people to this blog… all the rest of them seem to be a bunch of Hicks talking among themselves. With the moderator doing more than half the talking!!

    Once you write something usually VERY LITTLE needs to be said!!!

  3. CVH wrote:

    A very worthy review. She captures the book well and is able to place it like an object in a three-dimensional space so the reader can see its spiritual, musical and cultural aspects and their relationships to one another at the same time. Congrats!

  4. Ode wrote:

    “”being someone who, as a child, gleefully chased greased pigs in public “”

    you are still doing that as an adult . It’s now called hosting a blog about SG artists ;)

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