American Possessions: Fighting Demons in the Contemporary United States

Hardcover | June 3, 2015

bySean Mccloud

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Stories of contemporary exorcisms are largely met with ridicule, or even hostility. Sean McCloud argues, however, that there are important themes to consider within these narratives of seemingly well-adjusted people who attend school, go shopping, watch movies, and also happen to fight demons.American Possessions examines Third Wave spiritual warfare, a late twentieth-, early twenty-first century movement of evangelicals focused on banishing demons from human bodies, material objects, land, regions, political parties, and nation states. While Third Wave beliefs may seem far removed fromwhat many scholars view as mainstream religious practice, McCloud argues that the movement provides an ideal case study for identifying some of the most prominent tropes within the contemporary American religious landscape. Drawing on interviews, television shows, documentaries, websites, and dozensof spiritual warfare handbooks, McCloud examines Third Wave practices such deliverance rituals (a uniquely Protestant form of exorcism), spiritual housekeeping (the removal of demons from everyday objects), and spiritual mapping (searching for the demonic in the physical landscape). Demons, heshows, are the central fact of life in the Third Wave imagination. McCloud provides the first book-length study of this influential movement, highlighting the important ways that it reflects and diverts from the larger, neo-liberal culture from which it originates.

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Stories of contemporary exorcisms are largely met with ridicule, or even hostility. Sean McCloud argues, however, that there are important themes to consider within these narratives of seemingly well-adjusted people who attend school, go shopping, watch movies, and also happen to fight demons.American Possessions examines Third Wave sp...

Sean McCloud is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies and Communication Studies Faculty Affiliate at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He teaches, publishes, and researches in the fields of American religions and religion and culture. His publications include Making the American Religious Fringe...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:192 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 0.91 inPublished:June 3, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190205350

ISBN - 13:9780190205355

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: American Religion in an Era of Possessions1. Delivering the World2. Possessed Possessions, Defiled Land, and the Horrors of History3. The Gothic Therapeutic4. Haunting Desires: Agency in an Era of PossessionsConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Sean McCloud's compelling study of spiritual warfare manuals written by Third Wave American evangelicals is the first of its kind. McCloud carefully examines literature that focuses on cursed objects, spiritual mapping, protective battle prayers, generational demons, and prayer walks touncover the extraordinary and ordinary aspects of deliverance beliefs and rituals. McCloud reveals how seemingly medieval religious practices are made sensible in the modern world. A fascinating and understudied topic." --Amy DeRogatis, Associate Professor of Religion and American Culture, Michigan State University