Here's part 1 of my series "Finding D&D," or rather, my first pass at working it up into a formal presentation. I'm looking forward to a fair piece of response for it. There's some history, based on several discussions at my old Adept forum, and a lot of private correspondence since then across a number of people with very different views from one another.
This part concerns the 1970s and how D&D-ness became a perceived and revered thing in the absence of any such thing. Part 2 will pick up with the RPGA and TSR as an 80s entity, concerning those organizations as an orthodox church; Part 3 addresses fundamentalism in the context of the church losing its hold on distributional and financial control; Part 4 addresses essentialism and universalism; and Part 5 is, if anyone cares, my opinion.
Please see the attached file as well as a handy summary for publications, associations among them, and dates.