Site Content

American Lectures in the History of Religions: The Cinematic Sacred

American Lectures in the History of Religion
"The Cinematic Sacred"

February 27, 2019
5:00 - 6:30pm
Porter Byrum Welcome Center
Kulynych Autditorium
campus of Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem NC

Fake News, Modern Horrors, and Democratic Hope: Why Capra's Populist Christ Figure Fell Flat

with Jeffrey Stout, emeritus professor of religion at Princeton University, whose interests include ethics, social criticism, political thought, modern theology, film, and theories of religion. Stout is the author of "The Flight from Authority," "Ethics after Babel," "Democracy and Tradition," and "Blessed Are the Organized: Grassroots Democracy in America."

About the Event

Frank Capra, like Hitchcock, was a Catholic director and an immigrant to the U.S. His early films, including "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," were extremely popular melodramas, derided by critics as Capra-corn. In "Meet John Doe," with Fascism on the rise in Europe, Capra was out to prove his capacity to confront modern evils. The plot is about a populist movement led by a charismatic Christ figure, “invented” by a journalist as fake news. The movement is ultimately hijacked by a Fascist newspaper mogul. In this lecture, Professor Stout will explore Capra’s own political leanings, the film’s reception, and the political significance in the film’s admittedly failed ending.

"Meet John Doe" will be screened Tues., Feb. 26 at 5:00pm in Pugh Auditorium.

sponsored by the Department for the Study of Religions, the American Academy of Religion, Program for Leadership and Character, School of Divinity, Film and Media Studies, and the Departments of Politics & International Affairs and Communication

Wednesday, February 27 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Porter Byrum Welcome Center, Kulynych Auditorium
1834 Wake Forest Road Winston-Salem, NC 27106

Event Type

Speakers, Lectures


Academics, Study of Religions, School of Divinity, Communication, Politics & International Affairs, Film Studies, Academic Centers / Institutes, Center for Leadership and Character

Target Audience

Faculty, General Public, Staff, Students


Contact name

James Ford, Department for the Study of Religions

Contact email

Contact phone number


Google Calendar iCal Outlook

Recent Activity