The Ark Encounter Creationist Theme Park: James Bielo’s Ethnographic Study

In the New Books in Anthropology podcast, Siobhan Magee interviews Dr James S. Bielo (Miami University), on the Ark Encounter Creationist Theme Park, the subject of his new book, Ark Encounter: The Making of a Creationist Theme Park (NYU Press, 2018).

 

 

“Entertainment has long been understood as important aspect of Christianity in the US, but the theme park, which includes a re-creation of Noah’s ark, provides a striking setting through which to ask questions such as how creationists present their beliefs to the broader public. Ark Encounter is, in part, a workplace ethnography, which describes the entwined conceptual and aesthetic work through which the park’s design team imagine how to most effectively and playfully communicate a controversial religious perspective. Bielo’s findings are situated in discussion with other groundbreaking anthropological work on how categories such as ‘fundamentalist’ have been constructed over time, perhaps most notably Susan Harding’s scholarship.”

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