Race, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Evangelicalism in the 1950s and 1960s

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture presents Dr. Randall J. Stephens. On April 21 at 10am in Cavanaugh Hall 435, Dr. Stephens will look at the ways evangelicals opposed rock ‘n’ roll music and rebellious youth culture in the 1950s and 1960s. Guest parking is available for a fee in the North Street Garage. Evangelical and fundamentalist leaders in the South and throughout the US targeted the big beat not just because it was disruptive and encouraged rebellion. Many also sensed that it broke down racial barriers and taboos. The discussion will look at how ministers, editors, parents, and others linked their efforts and challenges on the mission field among “natives” with the chaos rock ‘n’ roll unleashed on American soil. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

Dr. Stephens is an Associate Professor and Reader in History and American Studies at Northumbria University, Newcastle Upon Tyne. He is the author of The Fire Spreads: Holiness and Pentecostalism in the American South (Harvard University Press, 2008) and The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age, co-authored with Karl Giberson (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011). He is currently completing a book on religion and rock music for Harvard University Press. In spring 2012, Dr. Stephens was a Fulbright Roving Scholar in American Studies in Norway. He has also written for the New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Independent, The Atlantic blog, Salon, and Christian Century.

Kate Harris