Journal Article

Dark Teens and Born-again Martyrs: Captivity Narratives after Columbine

Sarah M. Pike

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 77, issue 3, pages 647-679
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online September 2009 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
Dark Teens and Born-again Martyrs: Captivity Narratives after Columbine

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In Columbine and its legacy, two streams of American discourse about threatening young people and captivity by evil forces converged: Protestant evangelical captivity narratives dating from the colonial period and discourse about troubled youth that has its origins in the mid-nineteenth century. Tales about threatening youth convey the extent to which young people do important work for their cultures, especially when they are used to shore up the bounds of normality against the threat of deviance. Captivity narratives provided powerful impetus for change after Columbine, just as they did for Protestants in seventeenth-century New England and for nineteenth-century nativist movements. After Columbine, tales of adolescents captured by darkness contributed to a growing evangelical youth movement, effected legislation concerning the separation of church and state, impacted public school dress codes and behavior policies, and in general shaped Americans' thinking about teenage deviance and normality.

Journal Article.  11405 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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