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Author and scholar Diane Winston will discuss the intersection of religion, politics, and the US news media during a talk on campus at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 6.

Winston will deliver the annual David L. Dungan Memorial Lecture in Strong Hall Room 101. It is free and open to the public. The Department of Religious Studies is sponsoring the event, and the College of Communication and Information is a co-sponsor.

In her presentation, “From Reagan to Trump: Religion, Politics, and the US News Media,” Winston will examine the role religion plays in public life today by taking a trip back to the 1980s—including a second look at AIDS, so-called “welfare queens,” and then-president Ronald Reagan’s characterization of the USSR as an evil empire.

Winston is the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. In her books, Winston explores how religious issues relate to the news media, the market, diverse genres of television including reality TV, and the urban religion of the Salvation Army. She is the publisher of Religion Dispatches, a daily online magazine covering religion, politics, and culture.

The David L. Dungan Memorial Lecture honors late UT Professor David Laird Dungan, who regularly shared his scholarship on biblical interpretation, as well as on religious issues in public life, in the wider community. By bringing in leading scholars, the Department of Religious Studies seeks to communicate the importance of the academic study of religion in the globalizing world.

For more about the Dungan Lecture, visit the Department of Religious Studies website.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,

Rosalind Hackett (865-974-6980,