New book looks at contemporary forms of televangelism
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New book looks at contemporary forms of televangelism

{wacc location=”Toronto, Canada”}{teaser}Exploring the changing face of global and local televangelism on a television screen near you.{/teaser}

WACC’s former director of studies, Pradip N. Thomas, and WACC’s current deputy-director of programmes and editor of its journal Media Development, Philip Lee, have joined forces to publish a collection of essays examining the global phenomenon of televangelism. The book includes a chapter by Dennis A. Smith, WACC President, writing together with Leonildo Silveira Campos, of the Methodist University of São Paulo.

“Televangelism is no longer limited to television but is increasingly a new media phenomenon – amplified and shaped on social media sites and accessed by mobile technologies in ever more complex circuits of production, distribution, and consumption,” write the editor in the Introduction. This book contributes “towards illuminating the contextual nature of ‘televangelistic’ practices in different parts of the world.”

Televangelism is an evolving global phenomenon. While it may have begun in the USA in the late 1960s, the liberalization of global television in the 1990s along with the spread of satellite and cable television has enabled a variety of global and local expressions of televangelism today. The spread of Islamic television in the Arab world and Indonesia shows no sign of abating, while the Hindu televangelist Baba Ramdev has become a household name through his marketing of yoga-based health and well being products.

Global and Local Televangelism explores and engages with the changing face of global and local televangelism – with the globalization of Christian televangelism in India, Nigeria, Ghana, Guatemala and Brazil, and with the branded nature of televangelism in contemporary USA. While US style televangelism has influenced its Islamic and Hindu variants, it is clear there is an evolving local tenor that is influenced as much by local cultural and religious practices as by economics and politics.

The resurgence of religious identities the world over has been accompanied by the presence of religion in the media. These media have been put to use in multiple intra and inter-religious battles over souls and purses and these struggles, in particular, have been fought out on television screens.

The book is divided into four sections. Part I: Islamic Televangelism: On Preachers and Prophets. Part II: Christian Televangelism: Branding the Global and the Local. Part III: Hindu Televangelism: An Emerging Phenomenon. Part IV: Televangelism, Politics, and Popular Culture. It is dedicated to two pioneers in the study of televangelism: Professor Stewart Hoover (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA) and Professor Peter Horsfield (RMIT University, Australia), both long-time members and associates of WACC.

The book is widely available from booksellers, including the publisher. Global and Local Televangelism, edited by Pradip N. Thomas and Philip Lee. Palgrave Macmillan (2012). ISBN 978-0-230-34810-3.

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