What We're Reading
Hoping to encourage thoughtful reflection in America on the larger questions surrounding technology and human nature, the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington has founded The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society. The premiere issue, published in the spring of 2003, featured articles by such heavyweights in the world of bioethics as Leon R. Kass and Gilbert Meilaender. For information about subscribing to the quarterly Journal, its mission and editorial board, or to browse the available issues, visit The New Atlantis's web pages. [Posted February 2004, ALG]
A sampling of sources . . .
Financing the American Dream: Debt, Credit, and the Making of the American Consumer Culture was published by Princeton. Robert Bocock provides a sociological survey of the topic in his 1993 book, Consumption (Key Ideas) (Routledge). Writing that "Consumerism has become the practical ideology of capitalism," he traces the shift in the basis of social identity from production to consumption. Although no longer in print, T. J. Jackson Lears's The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American History, 1880-1980 (Pantheon, 1983) provides a historical understanding of credit and consumption in a period of great change. In Lead Us Into Temptation: The Triumph of American Materialism (Columbia, 1999), James Twitchell sets forth the provocative thesis that consumption is an outgrowth of our need for self-identity—a need for which the culture no longer provides. Countering the idea that consumers are the hapless victims of marketers, Twitchell believes we have quite willingly become a consumer culture—indeed, "consumerism is our better judgement." [Posted October 2001, ALG]
For further resources, see Gary Cross's An All-Consuming Century, published by Columbia University. An earlier work by Cross, Kids Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood (Harvard, 1999), examines in detail the effects of consumerism on children. Michael Sandel examines the emergence of "the newest commercial frontier—the public schools" in his essay "Ad Nauseum" in the September 1, 1997, issue of The New Republic. [Posted November 2001, ALG]
Jill Peláez Baumgaertner's Flannery O'Connor: A Proper Scaring is published by Cornerstone Press. One of the most recent anthologies about O'Connor's work was published in 1997 as Volume 17 of the biannual journal, Literature and Belief, a project of the Center for the Study of Christian Values in Literature at Brigham Young University. Among the essays included are Ralph C. Wood's "Flannery O'Connor's Strange Alliance with Southern Fundamentalists," Robert Donahoo's "O'Connor's Catholics: A Historical-Cultural Context," and Jae-Nam Han's "O'Connor's Thomism and the 'Death of God' in Wise Blood." Ralph C. Wood devotes a large section to O'Connor in his book The Comedy of Redemption: Christian Faith and Comic Vision in Four American Novelists (Notre Dame, 1988). Other books to note: Robert H. Brinkman, The Art and Vision of Flannery O'Connor (LSU Press, 1989); Robert Coles, Flannery O'Connor's South (LSU Press, 1980); John E. Desmond, Risen Sons: Flannery O'Connor's Vision of History (University of Georgia Press, 1987); Anthony DiRenzo, American Gargoyles: Flannery O'Connor and the Medieval Grotesque (Southern Illinois University Press, 1993); David Eggenschwiler, The Christian Humanism of Flannery O'Connor (Wayne State University Press, 1982); Kathleen Feeley, Flannery O'Connor: Voice of the Peacock (Rutgers, 1972); Conversations with Flannery O'Connor, ed. by Rosemary M. Magee (University Press of Mississippi, 1987); Flannery O'Connor and the Christian Mystery, ed. by Sua Prasad Rath and Mary Neff Shaw (University of Georgia, 1996); Marion Montgomery, Why Flannery O'Connor Stayed Home (Sherwood Sugden, 1981); and Brian Abel Ragen, A Wreck on the Road to Damascus: Innocence, Guilt, and Conversion in Flannery O'Connor (Loyola, 1989). [Posted October 2001, ALG]
Titles recommended by Ralph Wood, a guest who talks about Flannery O'Connor on Volume 73 of the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal.
Melvin J. Friedman and Lewis A. Lawson (eds.), The Added Dimension: The Art of Mind of Flannery O'Connor (Fordham University Press, 1989)
Frederick Asals, Flannery O'Connor: The Imagination of Extremity (University of Georgia Press, 1982)
John F. Desmond, Risen Sons: Flannery O'Connor's Vision of History (University of Georgia Press, 1987)
Richard Giannone, Flannery O'Connor and the Mystery of Love (Fordham University Press, 1999)
Jon Lance Bacon, Flannery O'Connor and Cold War Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2005) [Posted August 2005, ALG]
Robert Gagnon, a guest on Volume 68 whose interview with Ken Myers is published in full on Conversation 20, "Texts, Sex, & Sanctity: Robert Gagnon on Homosexuality & the Bible," offers various resources about the Bible, the Church, and homosexuality in his web pages.
Robert Gagnon, a guest on Volume 68 whose interview with Ken Myers is published in full on Conversation 20, "Texts, Sex, & Sanctity: Robert Gagnon on Homosexuality & the Bible," offers various resources about the Bible, the Church, and homosexuality on his web pages. Gagnon is an ordained elder of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and an associate professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. His site contains pdf and html versions of many of his articles, along with information about his books, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, and Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views. He has also posted entries on the Federal Marriage Amendment and legal decisions about homosexual marriage. [Posted August 2004, Amy L. Graeser]