A Dungeon Master's Guide to the Satanic Panic: The History, Sociology, and Rhetoric of Conservative Christianity and Dungeons and Dragons




Elequin, Mitchell

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The Satanic Panic of the 1980s and its relationship with Dungeons & Dragons has captured the curiosity of historians, sociologists, folklorists, religious scholars, and geeks for decades. Heralded as a return to form by conservative Christians, the Satanic Panic ousted occult undertones lurking in the shadows of America’s popular culture. Conservative Christians subjected Dungeons & Dragons to the burning stake of this modern-day witch hunt. This thesis investigates the “why” and “how” of the Satanic Panic vis-à-vis this tabletop role-playing game set in a fantasy universe. Applying an interdisciplinary approach, this thesis presents primary texts and historical documents of the Satanic Panic and then proceeds to address the Satanic Panic sociologically. Finally, this thesis performs ideological criticism on an anti-Dungeons & Dragons text to demonstrate historical, sociological, and ideological trends in a major movement within conservative American Christianity, the influence of which reverberates to this day.



Interdisciplinary Studies in Religion and Media