“Rasslin’ with Religion and the Rebel Flag: Christian Professional Wrestling after Charleston” is the topic of the 2015 Zaidee Creel Williams Memorial Lecture at University of Lynchburg.
Dr. Daniel B. Mathewson, a scholar of Religious Studies who teaches at Wofford College, will present the talk at 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 26, in Sydnor Performance Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.
The talk examines the intersection of professional wrestling, evangelical Christianity, and the confederate flag controversy that erupted following a shooting that killed nine people at a Charleston, South Carolina, church in June.
The talk examines those topics as markers of Southern identity, said Dr. Stephen Dawson, a professor of religious studies professor at LC.
The Zaidee Creel Williams Memorial Lecture brings renowned scholars to University of Lynchburg for discussions about a variety of topics pertaining to religion. It is named for a 1924 graduate of LC and was established by her nephew, Austin Creel, who delivered the first lecture in the series in 1989.
The lecture series creates an opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and the general public to broaden their knowledge of religious issues and improve their understanding of different religions, Dr. Dawson said. Better understanding leads to a society that works together better.
“Religion is at the source of many conflicts,” he said. “A better understanding of different ways of being religious helps resolve some of those conflicts.”
About the speaker
Dr. Daniel B. Mathewson, author of numerous book chapters, articles, essays, and reviews, is Associate Professor of Religion at Wofford College, where he has taught since 2005.
Dr. Mathewson’s teaching and research focuses on a relatively new and underexplored area of Religious Studies called “Lived Religion.” Lived Religion examines the diverse ways that people from all walks of life live out their faith—whether in concert with “official” religious institutions and authorities, or not. Lived Religion shifts focus from the world religious traditions—Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism—toward what Robert Orsi calls “a study of how particular people, in particular places and times, live in, with, through, and against the religious idioms available to them in culture.”
Lived Religion explores first-hand, through experience, the ways in which different people live their religion. For some, professional wrestling is a form of religious life. Dr. Mathewson is thus one of the few, if perhaps the only, scholar of Religious Studies who also happens to be a professional wrestler (licensed by the South Carolina State Athletic Commission, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, 2013). He wrestles under the moniker “Mr. Canada,” and currently has a record of 0 and 1.
Dr. Mathewson earned his Ph.D. at Emory University, his M.T.S. at Duke Divinity School, and his B.A. at Messiah College.