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The New Atheist Movement in the blogosphere: burlesque and carnivalesque as rhetorical strategies in visual productions




Murti, Desideria Cempaka Wijaya, author
Anderson, Karrin Vasby, advisor
Chung, Hye Seung, committee member
Kasser, Jeff, committee member

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This thesis examines the visual production of the New Atheist Movement in the Blogosphere. I argue that the images of New Atheism use burlesque and carnivalesque as rhetorical strategies. In the public sphere, New Atheist movement use burlesque images to criticize the majority religion in the U.S. by critiquing the power dynamic between religion and humanity. The atheists also criticize the contemporary relevance of religious attitudes and offer an alternative perspective focusing on human empowerment, science, and technology. Meanwhile, the carnivalesque images function to uncover the problematic social discourse from the atheistic point of view and the alternative perspectives offered by atheism. The carnivalesque approach helps to smooth the promotion of the atheists' main premise, challenge the dominant premise, and desanctify hierarchy through laughter. The analysis on this paper is not only identifying burlesque and carnivalesque strategies of images in the blogosphere, but also to contribute to the understanding of how symbols function in religious discourse in the U.S. I conclude the project by examining that in atheists' (digital) enclaves, they build their subaltern identity and then expand into the broader public sphere, seeking points of connection between themselves and theists.


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New Atheist Movement


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