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American Religious Sounds Project

Outdoor preaching and student reaction

Description

The Oval at the Ohio State University is the main campus green space, 11 acres of lawn and shade trees surrounded by OSU’s oldest academic buildings. At class change times, hundreds of students may cross the Oval’s many paths at once. On warm days, many more lounge on “Oval Beach” socializing, sunbathing, and playing with their dogs. In the winter, these crowds disappear, but in good weather, the Oval plays host to diverse club recruiting events, political and social justice campaigns, voter registration drives, class surveying and meteorology activities. Religious demonstrators are also common.

While most groups doing promotions on the Oval are OSU-affiliated or composed mainly of students, many of the religious groups who visit are from outside the university. When many students are likely to be outside, visiting preachers and activists have a guaranteed audience. Some religious demonstrators are highly political, focusing on issues like abortion, gender roles, and LGBTQ rights. These visitors can often be heard across the Oval and spotted by the clusters of amused, curious, or dismayed students they attract. Others are less vocal about politics, choosing instead to pass out literature about their traditions, such as Seventh-Day Adventism, the Ahmadiyya Islamic movement, and Christian Young-Earth Creationism. For many students, proselytism on the Oval is a go-to example of religion as they encounter it at OSU.

This clip was recorded in early autumn 2016 during a preaching session by Christian proselytizers. Students can be heard laughing at and arguing with the preachers, who decry liberalism, homosexuality, and certain sexual acts. Note this clip contains explicit language. (Caroline Toy)

Event
Outdoor preaching and student reaction
Community
Location
Ohio State University Oval
City / State
Columbus, OH
Recordist
Caroline Toy
Recorded On
2016-09-21
Religious Tradition
Christian (Protestant)
Language
English
Types of Sounds
ambient, laughing, multiple voices, preaching/speeches, speaking
Types of Space
educational space, outdoors
Research Team
Ohio State
Season
autumn
Day of Week
Wednesday
Time of Day
midday
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A preacher engages with students on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, OH. Photo by Caroline Toy.
Outdoor preaching and student reaction
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