Oprah : The Gospel of an Icon

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 3/2/2011
  • Publisher: Univ of California Pr

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"Today onOprah," intones the TV announcer, and all over America viewers tune in to learn, empathize, and celebrate. In this book, Kathryn Lofton investigates the Oprah phenomenon and finds in Winfrey's empire--Harpo Productions,O Magazine, and her new television network--an uncanny reflection of religion in modern society. Lofton shows that when Oprah likes, needs, or believes something, she offers her audience nothing less than spiritual revolution, reinforced by practices that fuse consumer behavior, celebrity ambition, and religious idiom. In short, Oprah Winfrey is a media messiah for a secular age. Lofton's unique approach also situates the Oprah enterprise culturally, illuminating how Winfrey reflects and continues historical patterns of American religions.

Author Biography

Kathryn Lofton is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies at Yale University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Practicing Purchase: The Prosperity Gospel of a Spiritual Capitalismp. 20
Celebrity Spirit: The Incorporation of Your Best Lifep. 51
Diverting Conversions: The Makeover as Social Ritep. 82
Preacher Queen: The Race and Gender of America's Confessorp. 118
Reading Religiously: The Reformations of Oprah's Book Clubp. 148
Missionary Gift: The Globalization of Inspirationp. 190
Conclusionp. 206
Epilogue: Political Spirituality, or the Oprahfication of Obamap. 213
Notesp. 223
Indexp. 275
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