Date of Graduation

8-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Anthropology

Advisor

Joann D'Alisera

Committee Member

Kirstin Erickson

Second Committee Member

Ted Swedenburg

Keywords

American Studies, Gay, Gender, Pentecostalism, Queer, Rust Belt

Abstract

Iconoclastic parishioners who gather at a Pentecostal church in Rust-Belt Indiana envision their movement to be the final piece of a reconfigured eschatological prophecy; this is a last-day revival that evangelicals have been anticipating for over two thousand years. Having been estranged by intolerance and misunderstanding of scripture, as the narrative goes, "God's gay children" are returning to the "Shepherd's fold." The predominately white and working-class congregation seeks a redefinition of what it means to be homosexual in the United States: persons not thought of simply for sexual desire but a shared normalcy with other moral Christians. Mainstream Pentecostals demonize the dubious movement as a perversion of the sacred, as evidence that they are living in the End of Days. In this dissertation I explore the innovative ways in which believers negotiate and coalesce their queer and Pentecostal identities as they entertain a spirit world and prepare for the Second Coming of Christ. Amidst the homophobia of mainstream evangelicals and the perceived moral dangers of queer America, the reconciled Pentecostals negotiate identity dissonance as they speak in tongues, cast out devils, become "slain in the Spirit," and dance as a Holy Ghost mounts their born-again bodies.

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