Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

George Tinker, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Nancy Wadsworth

Third Advisor

Edward Antonio


Church, Racism, Whiteness, White privilege


This dissertation argues that whiteness and the oppressive structures it creates are maintained, managed, and justified by the religio-cultural tools of white Christians in greater Fort Wayne, IN. This dissertation studies the relationship among the repertoires of white Christians, racism, and white privilege by analyzing the life narratives of selfidentified white Christians. I have divided this work into two parts. Part one, comprising Chapters One and Two, outlines the frameworks, theories, and methods I use to analyze the life narratives of the white Christians that I interviewed. In Chapter One I focus on how my research builds on and contributes to the conversations started by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith in their trail-blazing book, Divided By Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). Chapter One outlines the significant conclusions made by these scholars, names the criticisms leveled against Emerson and Smith, and states the thesis and assumptions of my work. In Chapter Two I outline frameworks for understanding how cultural and religious tool kits influence interpersonal narratives. Here I’m concerned with the role of cultural and religious repertoires, especially narratives, in the construction of identity and religious beliefs as well as the use of narrative as a method of inquiry and analysis. In the first part of Chapter Two, I argue that dominant cultural and religious repertoires influence personal beliefs that in turn (re)construct cultural and religious repertoires. In the latter part of the chapter, I define narrative inquiry and argue for the legitimacy of its use as a methodology for collecting my research data. Against this background of arguments of narrative identity and cultural tools, Chapters Three and Four, part two, examines the life narratives of twenty research participants and names the religio-cultural tools articulated by these and many other white Christians.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Dean J. Johnson


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

167 p.


Regional studies, Theology