“What happens when the a generation of young people who believed the promises of purity grow up to realize those promises have dissolved into a struggle with sexual shame? ”
After Purity investigates a post-purity movement flourishing among current and former evangelicals who have been negatively impacted by evangelical purity culture. Starting in the early 1990s, sexual purity teachings were introduced by church leaders to evangelical adolescents as both a moral imperative and an essential component of the Christian faith. Today, former participants frequently describe how purity teachings perpetuated harmful views of gender/sexuality and in some cases enabled a culture of abuse. As adults, current and former evangelicals are working to un-do the psychological and spiritual damage of purity teachings; a movement being led by gendered, sexual, and racial minorities who have been the most articulate in describing how evangelical purity culture justifies numerous forms of social oppression.
This project will chronicle the emergence of the post-purity movement through interviews with authors, faith-based activists, clergy and others who have spoken publicly about their experiences within evangelical purity culture. With proper funding I will be able to do field research at post-purity events and participate in on-line courses and coaching by post-purity entrepreneurs. I will also be collecting data from volunteer participants through the project website which will connect research participants to secure, on-line, research tools housed at Central Michigan University.
Notes: Oxford University Press which published my first book has already expressed interest in the book manuscript for After Purity. Cynthia Read, my editor at OUP would be happy to provide a letter of support for this project if necessary. Also, this project is currently under review with the Institutional Review Board of Central Michigan University. The web-based, research tools are being developed in consultation with the Office of Information Technology in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.