Date of Award

12-2017

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Allan Eickelmann, D. Min.

Advisor Department

Interdisciplinary Studies

Abstract

This thesis will involve how local religious populations might affect the sales of books/book genres on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This paper will endeavor to answer this question: how would local religions affect book sales in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region? Firstly, it will explain the history behind religious literary censorship, as well as listing secular and religious institutions that protest or ban books. Secondly, it will define and categorize literature into genres, mainly fiction and nonfiction, with subgenres including fantasy and spiritual. Similarly, it will record what characteristics such as gender/sexuality, presence of intimate/sexual scenes, violence, supernatural phenomena/creatures, inappropriate language, and “pagan” influences caused these books to be protested or banned. It will then report on interviews conducted with local religious officials to see how they feel about different literature based on the aforementioned characteristics. Another Chapter will outline online surveys circulated to get a more complete picture of how different religions and denominations feel about aspects of literary works and what they feel should be censored. By interviewing local library employees, there is also a compiled list of locally banned/protested books that also meet the aforementioned criteria. Geographic data will then illustrate how the general local population is divided religiously. A conclusion will then be reached based on the geographic data and interviews using marketing and literary principles to estimate that books containing characteristics that the majority of local religions view as inappropriate may or may not do well in sales here.

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