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McRae has article published on 'cocktail culture' and American religion
Friday, October 30, 2015

McRae has article published on 'cocktail culture' and American religion

Dr. Shannon McRae

In October, Shannon McRae, professor of English and coordinator of American Studies and Film Studies, had her article on “cocktail culture” and American Religion published in the peer-reviewed journal, Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art, and Belief.

The article was co-authored by Colby Emmerson Reid, director of the Consumer Innovation Consortium and professor of Practice in the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University.

The essay examines the figure of the cocktail in American cultural history, to establish it as a point of convergence between consumer culture and religious expression. Drs. McRae and Reid set out to understand which structures of religious experience persist within the cocktail, and what about them captivates American consumers. The structures explored in this essay include: the fetishistic and totemic nature of cocktails and their accoutrements, the importance of pilgrimage within cocktail culture, a retention of ritualistic forms, an extant modern desire for transcendence through community, and the surprising relationship between religion and cosmopolitanism.

McRae has on-going work in American popular and folk religious expression in the 20th century, which includes the essay. In spring she presented a modified portion of it at a keynote talk about F. Scott Fitzgerald and jazz age cocktail culture for the Big Read.

For more information on this article, contact McRae at (716) 785-6014 or at

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