Academic Writing

The Observer and the Observed: An Ex-fundamentalist Speaks is a book-length piece of scholarly creative nonfiction about Christian fundamentalism in America.

Subjects: Christian History, Sexism, Recovery, Homophobia, Religious Right

This study is a postmodern critique of Christian Fundamentalism by a former Christian Fundamentalist who was raised in and part of a small Christian Fundamentalist community in Brooklyn, New York for twenty years. Arini examines Christian Fundamentalism’s historical origins, history of sexism, current political agendas, and inherent brainwashing strategies. It is autoethnographic in nature as Arini takes on the role of Native Informant and informs the reader about what is happening from inside the Christian Fundamentalist movement. Some of the central heuristic research questions addressed are: What is this Christian fundamentalist phenomenon? What is it like to be part of a Christian fundamentalist community, and what is it like to be in recovery?

Arini revisits her former religious space to systematically uncover the major religious and cultural components of her experience as a fundamentalist. Stories of her own experience are contextualized within the larger stories of Christian fundamentalism’s history, current political agenda, historical and current treatment of women, brainwashing strategies and the silent struggle of many ex-fundamentalists seeking recovery. She uses personal, creative narratives, which are juxtaposed to the corresponding research, as a form of scholarly inquiry and to recreate scenes from the inside thereby giving the research specificity, emotion, and power. This offers a new dimension to the studies of Christian Fundamentalism that will be of interest to social scientists, psychologists, ethnographers and autoethnographers, religion scholars, creative writers, and students of literature.

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