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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft
Stories of religious conversion have been told for millennia. Yet many prominent figures such as Ronald Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Rick Perry have also used stories of their change from one political worldview to another as a communication strategy aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the public. This book is about political conversion stories in public discourse, in their evolution from and interactions with religion. From a historical perspective, it charts the development of conversion narratives from religious contexts to their contemporary applications as specifically political messages. Since these narratives continue to be used in the culture wars, this book examines several related autobiographies that contributed to the use of this strategy in contemporary U.S. politics. Each case shows how shifts during the postwar period called for conversion texts under varying guises, and illustrates how and why the majority of these stories have been of conversions from the ideological left to the right. Examining political conversion as a form of public persuasion, Political Conversion ultimately provides insight into what these types of civic-religious stories mean for democratic communication and communities.