What is the difference, if any, between traditionally recognized religious groups and pop-culture fandoms? Are Trekkies (or Trekkers) really just Captain Kirk cultists? Would it be more appropriate to refer to “Jesus Freaks” as “Jesus Geeks”? As a Religious Studies Major at the University of North Carolina and a proud member of nerd culture, this is a question that has long fascinated me. When it came time, last spring, to compose an original research paper for my major in order to graduate I decided to explore this topic in-depth. My geek group of choice? Cthulhu Mythos fans.
As it turned out researching, writing and presenting this paper before my department was one of the most challenging but also thrilling experiences ever. It also took me much further than I initially expected it would as my professors were so impressed with my work that they had me submit my paper to the 2010 North Carolina Religious Studies Association; a conference at which the best papers composed by both professors and students from North Carolina universities working in the field of Religious Studies are selected and the presenters invited to share their papers in a public forum. My paper was one of the ones selected and now the video footage shot of it has been uploaded onto YouTube.
If your interested I would greatly appreciate it if you would check out my video and let me know what you think. The video and lecture are titled “Playing Games with the Great Old Ones: Ritual, Play and Joking within the Cthulhu Mythos Fandom” and is in two parts.
Here are the links: