The X-Files

Research Goals

I am currently working on a book entitled Finding God In The Secular Media: From the Twilight Zone to the X-Files.  Its topic is an expansion of presentations I gave at the 2004 and 2006 joint national conference of the American Culture Association and Popular Culture Association. My main thesis is that two paradigms exist for developing Christian media and one has consistently been ignored by the mainstream media and most of the public.  Shows such as The Twilight Zoneand The X-Files often dealt heavily in religious, and specifically Christian, ideas. However, their use of allegory to deliver these messages means they are often overlooked or even disparaged by the very Christian community they are targeting.  I have completed some preliminary research comparing the viewing habits of Christians versus non-Christians.  My goal is to finish the main book, as well as a planned companion piece targeted at churches specifically as guide to such programming.

Beyond this project, I am interested in two other research areas. First, I would like to explore the depiction of women in the role of “hero” in such electronic media as television, film, and video games.  It is my tentative hypothesis that female “heroes” in video games fall into two major categories.  In the first, the female character ostensibly playing the “hero” role is in fact subjugated as a sexual object. The movie version of Tomb Raideris a prime example of this phenomenon.  In the other case, the female “hero” is stripped of any true power and is portrayed in a stereotypically weak manner.  In the Nintendo video game Super Princess Peach, for instance, the princess’s “powers” include giggling and crying.

Second, I am interested in developing a class centered around the parallel development of the American Civil Rights movement in the twentieth century and the portrayal of African-Americans in film—starting with The Birth of A Nationand continuing to modern day films such as Bad Boys 2 andHoop Dreams.  My interest lies in exploring how societal stereotypes have evolved through the decades and how these have been reflected in film.

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