My scholarship is interdisciplinary and shaped by the methodological stakes of approaching ethnographic fieldwork with an intersectional lens attentive to racial, national, gendered, sexual, religious and classed hierarchies. My theoretical investments span multiple fields and integrate various conceptual frames: affect and political theory; critical race, feminist and queer theory; critical media studies; visual and digital culture; and ethnography that is driven by the study of power relations.
My book manuscript, Biblical Porn: Affect, Labor, and Pastor Mark Driscoll's Evangelical Empire, is based on ten years (2006-2016) of gathering ethnographic evidence. By 2014, Mars Hill Church of Seattle had expanded into an evangelical enterprise broadcasting Pastor Mark Driscoll on flat screens hovering over the sanctuaries of 15 facilities in five U.S. states, until scandals concerning the manipulation of funds and followers led to its dissolution. Biblical Porn examines how Mars Hill congregants were affectively recruited into sexualized and militarized dynamics of power through the mobilization of what I call “biblical porn.” By “biblical porn,” I mean the affective labor of mediating, branding and embodying Driscoll’s teaching on “biblical” masculinity, femininity and sexuality as a social imaginary, marketing strategy, and biopolitical instrument. At Mars Hill, affective labor entailed volunteering for a variety of service opportunities that primed the church’s atmosphere and fostered networks of care, such as worship band, media production, security and children’s ministry. In addition, affective labor was enlisted through inadvertent yet habituated bodily responses of the nervous system—gut feelings, belly laughs, glances and gestures—that excited, agitated and exploited a desire to believe. Biblical Porn analyzes how this religiously inflected form of biopower steered a collective sense of conviction in support of Driscoll’s vision for Evangelical Empire.
This book manuscript is in production with Duke University Press (forthcoming spring 2018). Currently, I am extending my interests in political mobilization at the intersections of religion, gender, sexuality, and race by pursuing research on the strategies, discourse, and policies of the extreme right in the United States. This project investigates the production of a white masculinist identity politics inflected through religious, nationalist, and classed logics that animates, amplifies, and exploits paranoia. My examination considers how processes of mediation enlisted and stoked by digital technologies are networking bodily affects with structurally and physically violent effects.