Joseph Laycock

Joseph Laycock
Texas State University | TxSt · Department of Philosophy

Phd Boston University 2012

About

92
Publications
7,417
Reads
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128
Citations
Citations since 2017
48 Research Items
104 Citations
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Introduction
I am an associate professor of religious studies at Texas State University. My research interests include American religious history, new religious movements, and moral panic. Learn more at my website: https://sites.google.com/site/joelaycock/ If you would like a full-text copy of an article, please send me an actual email (not here) explaining who you are and why you need it. This website seems to assume I'm in the business of mailing out copyrighted material to total strangers.

Publications

Publications (92)
Article
This article considers the rhetorical paradoxes surrounding The Satanic Temple (TST) and its interpretation of ‘black mass’ rituals. TST’s conservative critics have framed the movement as part of an ancient tradition of Satanism while also claiming that its members are not Satanists at all but merely ‘trolls’ seeking to upset Christians. Catholic c...
Chapter
Some historians have argued that the occult revival in general, and the Pentagon exorcism specifically, demonstrate that young people in the 1960s had taken a narcissistic turn, abdicating their duty to be mature, politically active citizens. Whether prankish, metaphorical, or literal, the exorcism of the Pentagon was a watershed moment in what soc...
Chapter
History: Theory and Method Articles
Chapter
The exorcism of a woman variously called Anna Ecklund, Emma Schmidt, or simply ‘Mary,’ by Theophilus Reisinger, a German-born Capuchin monk, in Earling, Iowa, in 1928, is a near legendary event. The case was studied by William Peter Blatty in his research for his novel The Exorcist and many of the famous tropes popularized in the film adaptation of...
Chapter
This chapter analyzes controversies within The Satanic Temple that led to a series of schisms in the summer of 2018. The schisms reflected larger national issues that have divided progressive groups, including disagreements about how best to respond to dangers posed by the “alt-right” movement, disagreements about the nature and value of free speec...
Book
Since it was founded in 2013, The Satanic Temple has spread across the United States and throughout the world. Unlike other forms of Satanism, The Satanic Temple is highly politically active. It has invoked religious freedom to campaign for easier access to abortion, exemption from laws that allow administering corporal punishment to students, and...
Chapter
Members of The Satanic Temple have presented themselves as “nice” Satanists who advance the values of compassion and social justice. This move has earned them scorn from some more traditional Satanic groups, notably the Church of Satan founded by Anton LaVey, which has accused The Satanic Temple’s members of being fake Satanists and plagiarizing ev...
Chapter
The final chapter considers the idea that Satanism is a sociopolitical counter-myth that counters and compliments the myth of America as a Christian nation. The idea that America is a nation favored by God has historically inspired those who feel they have been treated unjustly to side with the devil. This response is true not only in the modern er...
Chapter
This chapter provides a historical overview of The Satanic Temple from its foundation as a political action held in Tallahassee, Florida, in 2013 to the formation of a National Council with a physical headquarters and a system of chapters throughout the United States and abroad. The chapter describes the formation of the religion’s creed (The Seven...
Chapter
Many of The Satanic Temple’s campaigns invoke the idea that Satanists are perceived as evil and attempt to leverage this perception toward their political ends. This chapter analyzes three different strategies through which The Satanic Temple invokes and challenges conventional notions of evil. One strategy is performance art that seeks to reframe...
Chapter
Many of The Satanic Temple’s political campaigns and legal actions depend on invoking their religious rights. However, critics have responded that The Satanic Temple is not a “real” religion but merely “trolls” who only pretend to have sincerely held beliefs. These critics typically point out that The Satanic Temple do not believe in a literal Sata...
Chapter
This chapter begins with a summary and legal analysis of attempts to install monuments of the Ten Commandments on capitol grounds in Oklahoma and Arkansas and The Satanic Temple’s offer to erect a statue of the Satanic deity Baphomet next to these monuments. The author frames battles over the Baphomet statue as part of a larger pattern of “socially...
Chapter
This chapter considers two areas where The Satanic Temple has attempted to participate in institutions that nominally promote religious pluralism and tolerance: a 2014 black mass hosted through a cultural studies club at Harvard University and attempts to lead prayer invocations before city councils, following the 2014 Supreme Court decision Greece...
Article
This reply analyzes criticism of the article “Do We Always Practice What We Preach? Real Vampires’ Fears of Coming Out of the Coffin to Social Workers and Helping Professionals” published in Critical Social Work (2015), 16(1) by DJ Williams and Emily E. Prior. That article was widely publicized and received a seemingly disproportionate amount of cr...
Article
While pseudoarchaeology often presents claims in a scientific register, it favors fantastic or romantic theories of the past over the findings of professionalized archaeology. As archaeologists have attempted to interpret pseudoarchaeology, it has been implied that it often resembles religion more than science, both in terms of its epistemology and...
Article
This article proposes a strategy of creating labels for problematic ways doing analysis in religious studies classes. By identifying patterns of weak analysis and naming them, faculty can give students the ability to talk about analysis and become more critical in their approach to religious studies.
Article
Marian apparitions, as diverse, global, and dynamic phenomena, offer opportunities for multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural analysis. We are pleased in this special issue to offer seven essays highlighting the increasing internationalization of Marian devotional movements. Our contributors, using both local case studies and a global, comparative v...
Article
Who Says a Headscarf Emoji is Religious? (And Why?)
Article
Full-text available
Thousands have expressed outrage over the treatment of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old Muslim student at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, who was arrested after trying to show his English teacher an electronic clock he had constructed. The principal as well as mayor Beth Van Duyne (who has previously appeared on Glenn Beck to discuss her fears...
Article
This article uses the television series True Detective as a case study to examine an ongoing media cycle in which moral panics are inspired by popular culture and vice versa. In an interview about True Detective, writer Nic Pizzolatto hinted that a murderous cult portrayed in the show was based on media reports of an actual satanic cult. This detai...
Article
Since the 1970s, tulpas have been a feature of Western paranormal lore. In contemporary paranormal discourse, a tulpa is a being that begins in the imagination but acquires a tangible reality and sentience. Tulpas are created either through a deliberate act of individual will or unintentionally from the thoughts of numerous people. The tulpa was fi...
Article
In the nineteenth century, several skulls carved from rock crystal appeared in the holdings of European collectors. The provenance of the skulls was unknown and experts regarded them as pre-Columbian artifacts. In the twentieth century, two very different histories formed about these objects. Through testing and archival research, forensic experts...
Article
In 2014 Lama Gelongma Zangmo of Scotland sparked curiosity when she suggested that the Loch Ness monster or “Nessie” is actually a naga––a fantastic creature from Buddhist mythology. Visitors to her Tibetan practice center on the shores of the Loch will be able to leave offerings to Nessie. Without exaggerating the significance of these offerings w...
Article
This issue of Nova Religio is devoted to "the paranormal," focusing specifically on discourses rejected by mainstream religion and traditional science. The authors explore the historic and cultural significance of such topics as hauntings, séances, alien abductions, and more generally the concept of "paranormal" as a category of religious beliefs....
Article
‘Est’ was a human potential movement founded by Werner Erhard in San Francisco. At the height of the movement in the mid-1970s, thousands of trainees in the United States and Japan participated in gruelling 60-hour seminars intended to shock the participant into a more direct experience of reality. Est and derivative seminars became popular in Nort...
Article
The term “parody religion” is used to describe movements that deliberately mimic the elements of established religions and are intentionally absurd. It is generally assumed that people create and participate in parody religions primarily for their own amusement. However, the participants of parody religions occasionally demand to be taken seriously...
Article
Pierre Bernard and his wife, Blanche DeVries, were among the earliest proponents of postural yoga in America. In 1924, they created the Clarkstown Country Club, where yoga was taught to affluent and influential clientele. The network created through this endeavor not only popularized yoga in the West but also advanced the reinvention of yoga as a s...
Article
Scholars of new religious movements (NRMs) have spent considerable energy studying the role of news media in constructing public narratives about religious innovation. This article proposes that similar attention be paid to popular culture. It is argued that fictional media has a unique ability to shape public discourse about NRMs precisely because...
Article
In Haunted America, Darryl Caterine offers a reflexive description of his travels across the continental United States visiting sites associated with paranormal cultures. The text is framed as a kind of picaresque describing visits to Lily Dale, a Spiritualist community in New York State, a UFOlogy convention in Roswell, New Mexico, and a conventio...
Article
Otherkin are individuals who identify as “not entirely human.” Scholarship has framed this identity claim as religious because it is frequently supported by a framework of metaphysical beliefs. This article draws on survey data and interviews with Otherkin in order to provide a more thorough treatment of the phenomenon and to assess and qualify the...
Article
There are strong similarities between the confessions taken from accused witches in early modern Europe, the testimony of Satanic ritual abuse taken by modern therapists, and accounts of alien abduction given under hypnosis. In each of these narratives, a subject describes horrible sexual transgressions performed on them at the hand of a mysterious...
Article
There are strong similarities between the confessions taken from accused witches in early modern Europe, the testimony of Satanic ritual abuse taken by modern therapists, and accounts of alien abduction given under hypnosis. In each of these narratives, a subject describes horrible sexual transgressions performed on them at the hand of a mysterious...
Article
On 21 October 1967 Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, and Ed Sanders of the band The Fugs, and others, organized an "exorcism" of the Pentagon in which several thousand demonstrators participated. Most historians have regarded this event as "a put on" or at best as "performance art." This article takes seriously the nominal status of the ritual as a "s...
Article
The Omega Man (1971), starring Charlton Heston, is a film adaptation of the book I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Matheson’s novel tells the tale of Robert Neville, the last man left alive after germ warfare has infected humanity with vampirism. The Omega Man differs from the original novel and its other adaptations in several ways: The most notabl...
Article
"Real vampires" believe that they must either consume blood or feed on "subtle" energy in order to maintain their physical, mental, and spiritual health. Recent scholarship has analyzed vampirism as a religious movement or as a cluster of "vampire religions." This article argues that vampirism should be viewed foremost as an identity around which s...
Article
Many adults of the millennial generation share childhood memories of “syndication cartoons”—cartoons created to promote an existing product. Mattel’s “He-Man” was one of the most successful syndication characters of all time. However, few people know that in 1982, Mattel commissioned a document called, “The Masters of the Universe Bible.” The “Bibl...
Article
En 1853, John Murray Spear tenta de construire une machine en se servant de schémas reçus par communication spirite avec Benjamin Franklin. Les historiens se sont efforcés d'accorder cet épisode, connu comme 'l'Expérience du Nouveau Moteur', avec l'œuvre antérieure de Spear abolitionniste. On ne peut comprendre convenablement le Nouveau Moteur sans...

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