Then Sings My Soul

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-04-25
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr

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In this ambitious book on southern gospel music, Douglas Harrison reexamines the music's historical emergence and its function as a modern cultural phenomenon. Rather than a single rhetoric focusing on the afterlife as compensation for worldly sacrifice, Harrison presents southern gospel as a network of interconnected messages that evangelical Christians use to make individual sense of both Protestant theological doctrines and their own lived experiences. Harrison explores how listeners and consumers of southern gospel integrate its lyrics and music into their own religious experience, building up individual--and potentially subversive--meanings beneath a surface of evangelical consensus. Reassessing the contributions of such figures as Aldine Kieffer, James D. Vaughan, and Bill and Gloria Gaither, Then Sings My Soultraces an alternative history of southern gospel in the twentieth century, one that emphasizes the music's interaction with broader shifts in American life beyond the narrow confines of southern gospel's borders. His discussion includes the "gay-gospel paradox"--the experience of non-heterosexuals in gospel music--as a cipher for fundamentalism's conflict with the postmodern world.

Author Biography

Douglas Harrison is an associate professor of English at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: A Native Informant's Report from the Fieldp. 1
Glory Bumps; or, The Psychodynamics of the Southern Gospel Experiencep. 25
Nostalgia, Modernity, and the Reconstruction Roots of Southern Gospelp. 50
The Rise of "Southern" Gospel Music and the Compensations of Historyp. 80
The Gaitherization of Contemporary Southern Gospelp. 110
Southern Gospel in the Key of Queerp. 137
Epilogue: The Soul's Best Songp. 163
Songs Referencedp. 171
Methods and Preliminary Findings of a Survey of Attitudes and Beliefs about Southern Gospel Musicp. 175
Notesp. 181
Indexp. 217
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