Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Playing Games withe Great Old Ones: A Lecture by Justin Mullis

Its been a long time time since I've made a post here at Of Epic Proportions. The reason for this is that for the past year my time has been consumed with another project, one that I hope to make a significant part of my academic life's future research in the field of Religious Studies.

The topic which has so consumed me is centered on this question: What is the difference, if any, between traditionally recognized religious groups and pop-culture fandoms? Are Trekkies (or Trekkers) really just Captain Kirk cultists? Would it be more appropriate to refer to "Jesus Freaks" as "Jesus Geeks"?

As a Religious Studies Major at the University of North Carolina and a proud member of nerd culture, this is a question that has long fascinated me. When it came time, last spring, to compose an original research paper for my major in order to graduate I decided to explore this topic in-depth. My geek group of choice? Cthulhu Mythos fans.

As it turned out researching, writing and presenting this paper before my department was one of the most challenging but also thrilling and rewarding experiences ever. My professors were so impressed with my work that they had me submit my paper to the 2010 North Carolina Religious Studies Association; a conference at which the best papers composed by both professors and students from North Carolina universities working in the field of Religious Studies are selected and the presenters invited to share their papers in a public forum. My paper was one of the ones selected and now the video footage shot of it has been uploaded onto YouTube.

Both my paper and lecture are titled "Playing Games with the Great Old Ones: Ritual, Play and Joking within the Cthulhu Mythos Fandom". The video is presented here in two parts.

Part One:

Part Two: