James F. Hopgood, (PhD, University of Kansas), is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Founding Director of the Museum of Anthropology, and former department chair at Northern Kentucky University. In addition to research on James Dean fans, his areas of research include belief systems, worldview, religious movements, and urbanization, with fieldwork in northeast Mexico, Japan, and United States. Publications include The Making of Saints: Contesting Sacred Ground (2005) as editor and contributor, “Monterrey, Mexico” in Encyclopedia of Urban Cultures (2002), Settlers of Bajavista: Social and Economic Adaptation in a Mexican Squatter Settlement (1979), and numerous articles and book chapters. He is a recipient of a Sasakawa Fellowship, Japan Studies Institute, San Diego. He is former president of the Central States Anthropological Society and former editor of the society’s CSAS Bulletin. Contact at [email protected]

Title by James F. Hopgood

  • by James F. Hopgood

    Adoration and Pilgrimage is a hands-on study of the James Dean phenomenon that began after his tragic death in 1955 and continues to play out today. The book’s focus is on his fans and particularly the “Deaners,” his most devoted followers. For them, Dean is much more than a celebrity actor, rather a person of inspiration, introspection, desire, and devotion. Extensively researched through personal interviews and examination of the creative works by fans and Deaners, letters, and fan publications, Adoration and Pilgrimage looks closely at Dean’s lasting appeal, inspiration, and significance. Related topics include:

    • Dean as a figure of interest, study, and inspiration among intellectuals, historians, and artists.
    • Brief coverage of the history of his fame, its origins, and impact on American culture.
    • His contested image among fans, Deaners, and the people of Fairmount as demonstrated by perceived competition between the local history museum and the Dean gallery.
    • A close examination of the nature and meaning of being a Deaner.
    • The role of artists and photographers in the creation of Dean’s image and, in some cases, his immortalization.
    • The role of pilgrimage, particularly in the small Indiana farm town of Fairmount.
    • The Dean phenomenon as adoration, a quasi-religious movement, a “cult,” or simply a liminal manifestation.
    • The nature of community among serious fans and Deaners.