Greg Dickinson, Colorado State University
Shopping malls and big box stores, front lawns and white picket fences, cul-de-sacs and split level homes define post-World War II US suburbs. But so too does the megachurch. Megachurches—usually Evangelical and hosting more than 2000 congregants a weekend—are one of the newest of these archetypal suburban forms. Because they are churches they hold a key to understanding the moral imperatives of suburban living. By rejecting traditional church architecture and drawing on banal suburban forms like shopping malls and professional offices, the megachurch also rejects important traditions within Christianity. In this presentation, Dickinson explores the ways the megachurch’s enactment of the good life is as profoundly shaped by contemporary popular culture as by a deep understanding of religious tradition and history. More broadly, his presentation will explore relationships between memory and forgetting in our everyday lives rhetorical criticism’s central role in engaging issues of values and beliefs.
Greg Dickinson is an award winning teacher and scholar of rhetoric. He writes about local, built spaces like megachurches, malls, and coffee shops to explore the material and symbolic construction of the good life within everyday practices. He is the co-editor (with Carole Blair and Brian L. Ott) of Places of Public Memory: The Rhetoric of Museums and Memorials and is completing Suburban Dreams: Rhetorical Constructions of the Good Life. His co-authored article, “Ways of (Not) Seeing Guns: Presence and Absence at the Cody Firearms Museum,” received the 2012 NCA Golden Anniversary Monograph Award. His essays have appeared in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Cultural StudiesCritical Methodologies, Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Southern Journal of Communication, and Western Journal of Communication. Greg is also an accomplished teacher, having won the Colorado State University Alumni Best Teacher Award in 2011, the CSU Lambda Pi Eta Excellence in Teaching Award in 2009, and the CSU College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award in 2004. He is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Interim Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University.