Dorchester resident Vincent F. Rocchio, PhD, has just published his third book, “Christianity and the Culture Machine: Media and Theology in the Age of Late Secularism.” Rocchio, 55, will celebrate the launch of the book – described as “an intensive examination of Christianity’s role in the cultural marketplace” – at Boston College, where he teaches part-time, on Fri., Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. with family and friends, neighbors, former students, and guests.
Through a series of media and entertainment texts, Rocchio explores the voice of authority in the institutional church versus the voice of proximity within books, films and TV series like Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and The West Wing.
A native of Michigan, Rocchio moved to Lawrence, Massachusetts with his wife, Margaret, in 1994. They settled in Dorchester in 2005 and have embraced the sense of the community it provides. He is now teaching at Boston College, having taught communications in the past in Rome, and at Northeastern University, and Dartmouth College.
His previous books are titled “Cinema of Anxiety: A Psychoanalysis of Italian Neorealism” and “Reel Racism: Confronting Hollywood’s Construction of Afro-American Culture.”
This third book has been a nine-year effort, a time line interrupted twice by his wife’s bouts with cancer. Those scary and difficult years slowed his writing, but he credits the support of his neighbors and fellow parents in the Edward Everett Elementary School community for helping him, his family, and his work.
“Their top priority was organizing people to bring meals over for us,” explains Rocchio. “We were running to chemo all the time, and after the surgeries coming home to the kids. It’s like, ‘Now I have to cook?’ They strategically helped to make sure there were already meals being prepared and made sure there were rides and pickups for the kids.”
Margaret Rocchio is now in recovery, happy and healthy and working as a nurse at the William Monre Trotter Elementary School.
“A good scholar should go wherever they find lots of contradictions, and when I look at cultural and media studies and theology, I found a lot of contradictions. They both have the same goal – they would both like to transform society, and yet they hate each other,” said Rocchio.
“I’ve grown impatient with media and cultural studies. I am the first to talk about the profound contributions they have made, but I say they are timid. I finally said I’m interested in doing more. I want to do more than just analysis, what I want to do is solve problems.”