D4 Class 10.1

Mar 30

Plundering the (Virtual) Shelves of Mugar

Ahoy, Matey! We pirates be a greedy bunch, and there are books aplenty at Mugar—and many of them are available online!

But don't weigh yourself down with leaden coins. Many a book bears a promising title but turns out, upon inspection, to focus on matters irrelevant to your inquiry. So sit yourself down under the light of Mugar's many lamps and crack open each of your books to see what lies therein. Then, if the book is indeed of use, turn it to further use by trawling through its notes and bibliography for leads on other books you might find and plunder.

Remember that your focus here is historical: you're looking to learn the history of an movement or idea. That may be easy for some topics—the history of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, for example, has been extensively documented. By contrast, there are lots of books on dinosaurs, but few (none?) on the history of dinosaurs as a cultural phenomenon. If you can't find a book with a focus that's exclusively historical, however, you may be able to find some that discuss the topic's history in the introduction or in early chapters. So it's really important that you crack the covers on your books before you check them out of the library: read the table of contents and skim through the introduction and several chapters to get a sense of what's on offer here. What approach does the author take to the topic? Does the book adopt a historical perspective at some point, attempting to explain the present by reference to the past? If so, you have a source worth your while.

Research Findings Create a Google Doc for publishing your research findings:

  1. Go to docs.google.com
  2. Make sure you're logged in to your bu.edu google account. (This will facilitate sharing, below.)
  3. Start a New Document
  4. Click on Share, then under "Get Link" choose the "Boston University" option.
  5. Copy link, then add the link to your post on this website on the Topics for Unit Three page.

In the coming weeks, you'll be using this Google Doc to keep a record of your research findings. This will provide your classmates access to the fruits of your research, and it will make it easier for you and I to confer during office hours.

For today, paste a list of 3 single-author books you think look interesting formatted Author, Title, Year, Link. The link you're looking for is the one that the library website displays after you've clicked a green "Online Access Available" link. It might be labelled Jstor or Proquest Ebook Central. In your Google Doc, format the link as an embedded link, rather than as a long text string. Skip two lines between entries.

After you've done all that, make a screenshot of the table of contents for the book that strikes you as most promising, and upload the screenshot in a comment, below, along with two sentences describing what this book is about and why you want to read it.

Reading

Michael Gerson, "The Last Temptation," an article from the current issue of The Atlantic magazine. Gerson offers an example of a writer seeking a deeper understanding of a present-day phenomenon by studying its past.

As you read, note moments where Gerson surprises you. Type one such quotation in as a comment, below. If someone else has already put up the quote you were planning, write a reply commenting on what made that moment in the essay surprise you. In particular, what's Gerson doing, as a writer, to engage his readers in this way?

32 responses to “D4 Class 10.1

    • “I was raised in an evangelical home, went to an evangelical church and high school, and began following Christ as a teen.”

      Gerson dedicates the first part of his article to a strong criticism of American Evangelicals. He bespatters the Evangelical “Trump loyalists” as hypocritical, shortsighted, and corrupt, and does so by exposing the concerning remarks of no less than seven Evangelical preachers in the first quarter of his article alone. It is all the more shocking, then, when Gerson labels himself as a Christian, and specifically notes how he grew up in an Evangelical household and chose and Evangelical college. This significant change in tone is deliberate and shocking to the reader, making them all the more interested in what Gerson has to say. It also qualifies him as an authority on the topic, having a personal connection to the Church.

    • “His tribalism and hatred for “the other” stand in direct opposition to Jesus’s radical ethic of neighbor love. Trump’s strength-worship and contempt for “losers” smack more of Nietzsche than of Christ. Blessed are the proud. Blessed are the ruthless. Blessed are the shameless. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after fame.”

      Gerson raised a style for Trump. By listing some chiristian values and making contrast with Trump’s style, he leads us to a conclusion that Trump is far away from chirstianity. After cleaning our misunderstanding, he gives us the answer: a nietsche style.

    • “Trump’s unapologetic materialism—his equation of financial and social success with human achievement and worth—is a negation of Christian teaching.”

      Gerson’s mention of his Christian upbringing and severe criticism of other Evangelical Christians is rather surprising and unexpected to the reader. Through mentioning the means and deeds of Trump’s campaign and presidency, Gerson is constantly proving to the reader that these “achievements” and the means in which they were achieved (if achieved at all) were not done for/ in the way of Christianity. Rather, Gerson is suggesting that these acts are falling more and more out of line with the Evangelical ideals Trump claims to be supporting. Gerson is also illustrating the blind loyalty majority of white Evangelical Christians to Trump despite the failure of Trump embodying Christianity himself as a result of his fame and success.

    • “Trump’s past political stances (he once supported the right to partial-birth abortion), his character (he has bragged about sexually assaulting women), and even his language (he introduced the words pussy and shithole into presidential discourse) would more naturally lead religious conservatives toward exorcism than alliance. This is a man who has cruelly publicized his infidelities, made disturbing sexual comments about his elder daughter, and boasted about the size of his penis on the debate stage.”

      This surprised me because I would think in a piece like this the use of all of these parenthesis and crass language would make this seem more like propaganda than a scholarly piece. However, this specific technique does bring the readers in, the purpose of this is to surprise the readers and shock them into waning to read more. This will encourage the readers to want to learn more about why this had become acceptable and more willing to learn the history and explore the relationship it has with evangelicals.

      • This particularly surprised me as well because Trump’s flip flopping political views never made his followers sway. Despite the fact that parents have daughters- they still unequivocally supported him despite his gross commentary towards women. Despite him once supporting partial-birth abortions- the ultra-religious still had no issue giving him their full support. Gerson does a wonderful job bringing that to the readers attention and highlighting the utter chaos that Trump led one of the most powerful countries in the world with.

    • “But when the candidate talked of an America in decline and headed toward destruction, which could be returned to greatness only by recovering the certainties of the past, he was strumming resonant chords of evangelical conviction.
      Trump consistently depicts evangelicals as they depict themselves: a mistreated minority, in need of a defender who plays by worldly rules.”

      This moment stuck out to me because it encapsulates how Trump (who is somewhat antithetical to traditional Christian values) managed to appeal to the evangelical audience, by essentially telling them that they were, in a sense, persecuted (which happens to many Biblical figures). Additionally, Gerson labeling Trump as a “defender” using “worldly rules” implies that evangelicals turned to Trump because he could act in a way that Christians normally could not.

    • “On Capitol Hill, I found many evangelical partners in trying to define a “compassionate conservatism.” And as a policy adviser and the chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush, I saw how evangelical leaders such as Rick and Kay Warren could be principled, tireless advocates in the global fight against aids.”

      In this section, Gerson is describing how evangelicals have changed not only their political stance but what they’re willing to accept from politicians that they elect. I found this to be very interesting and somewhat surprising, because of how much evangelicals have changed politically in my own lifetime. Gerson in this section describes some of Trump’s worst, least-Christian actions, which evangelicals can defend, and compares it to the things that evangelicals would have been accepting of 20 years ago.

    • “His tribalism and hatred for “the other” stand in direct opposition to Jesus’s radical ethic of neighbor love. Trump’s strength-worship and contempt for “losers” smack more of Nietzsche than of Christ.”

      Frankly, what struck me as most interesting was Gerson’s take on Christian values, the idea that they are in fact based on the idea of “love.” The idea of Christianity is pure, to spread love to all, but these morals rarely seem to be put into action. Of course, a few do not represent the majority, however there have been multiple occasions where Christians have shamed people in the LGBTQ+ community based on their sexual orientation and women’s rights have been ignored. The Republican Party has also supported these types of injustices and with Gerson’s reasoning, these actions do not align with their values either. By making these bold statements Gerson seems to be luring his audience in with simple word choice to ensure everyone in the audience can feel included.

    • “The President’s Emergency Plan for aids Relief (pepfar)—the largest initiative by a nation in history to fight a single disease—emerged in part from a sense of moral obligation informed by George W. Bush’s evangelical faith. In explaining and defending the program, Bush made constant reference to Luke 12:48: “To whom much is given, much is required.””
      It is interesting to hear about a Christian president using their faith to justify humanitarian aid to foreign countries, since unfortunately now most overtly Christian, Republican politicians only seem to care about culture-war issues, like gay marriage or secularization. To hear a Christian politicians use quotes from his Holy Book to justify spending tax dollars on helping poor, primarily Black people fight a deadly disease is a far-cry from what Christian politicians now justify with their religion. It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that the Bible can be used to warrant preferential treatment towards the poor or helping the least of these, but because of the way evangelicals now represent their faith, it certainly was to me.

    • “Evangelicalism was largely identical to mainstream Protestantism. Evangelicals varied widely in their denominational beliefs, but they uniformly agreed about the need for a personal decision to accept God’s grace through faith in Christ.”
      This quote extracted from Gersons, The Last Temptation surprised me because I always thought of Evangelicalism and Protestantism as two different sects of the protestant movement. Such that both agree on what defines salvation and grace.

    • “So it is little wonder that last year the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship, an 87-year-old ministry, dropped the ‘E word’ from its name, becoming the Princeton Christian Fellowship: Too many students had identified the term with conservative political ideology.”

      Before reading this article, I was under the impression that most evangelical organizations took pride in their largely conservative beliefs. Therefore, I was surprised to learn that ministries have recognized this assumption connecting their religion to a political stance and taken action to dissociate themselves from it. This change is actually somewhat promising from my perspective, as religion should not play a big role in politics.

    • “Trump’s unapologetic materialism—his equation of financial and social success with human achievement and worth—is a negation of Christian teaching. His tribalism and hatred for “the other” stand in direct opposition to Jesus’s radical ethic of neighbor love. Trump’s strength-worship and contempt for “losers” smack more of Nietzsche than of Christ.”
      The author Gerson is writing about how contradicted it is between what Trump actually has done and what his Christian supporters believe in. Such contradiction portrays an ironic scene, in which those Christians are supporting a man with totally different values from their own. People choose to ignore those things like they have never taken place before.

    • “I was raised in an evangelical home, went to an evangelical church and high school, and began following Christ as a teen. After attending Georgetown University for a year, I transferred to Wheaton College in Illinois—sometimes called “the Harvard of evangelical Protestantism”—where I studied theology. I worked at an evangelical nonprofit, Prison Fellowship, before becoming a staffer for Senator Dan Coats of Indiana (a fellow Wheaton alum). On Capitol Hill, I found many evangelical partners in trying to define a “compassionate conservatism.” And as a policy adviser and the chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush, I saw how evangelical leaders such as Rick and Kay Warren could be principled, tireless advocates in the global fight against aids.”

      This quote surprised me because it was the first time the author used first person in this article. He supports his claims by revealing his own experiences with the word “evangelical.” This gives him credibility to use the word and makes him more believable to the reader.

    • “These are religious leaders who have spent their entire adult lives bemoaning cultural and moral decay. Yet they publicly backed a candidate who was repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct, including with a 14-year-old girl.”

      The juxtaposition between the traditional practices of Evangelicals and the actions of Trump is particularly eye opening. Gerson addresses their extreme differences to criticize Evangelical leaders and their desperation for a platform in which they are willing to form an alliance with someone who displays “non-Christian substance” and is the complete opposite in everything that they believe in.

    • “Still, I believed that the old evangelical model of social engagement was exhausted, and that something more positive and principled was in the offing. I was wrong. In fact, evangelicals would prove highly vulnerable to a message of resentful, declinist populism. Donald Trump could almost have been echoing the apocalyptic warnings of Metaxas and Graham when he declared, ‘Our country’s going to hell.’ Or: ‘We haven’t seen anything like this, the carnage all over the world.’ Given Trump’s general level of religious knowledge, he likely had no idea that he was adapting premillennialism to populism. But when the candidate talked of an America in decline and headed toward destruction, which could be returned to greatness only by recovering the certainties of the past, he was strumming resonant chords of evangelical conviction.” Here, Gerson starts with something he believed should be the case, with an optimistic view, but replies that he was wrong. Other engaging factors of this quote is the language talking about “apocalyptic language” and how America is headed to “decline and destruction”. One other part that caught my attention is where it said, “evangelicals would prove highly vulnerable to a message of resentful, declinist populism.” this was because it was a claim that he would give evidence for later.

    • Attachment

      I want to examine the main obstacles of gun control: why it is hard to deploy. I think I should be familiar with the opinions of those who are against it. Most of the chosen book dedicates to it.

    • Attachment

      This book analyses an evolution throughout history of crime fiction and its relation to the ever-changing subject of Sherlock Holmes. I think this book would work great because I would like to focus on Sherlock Holmes and his relation to the crime fiction genre and how it changes in the different representations of the character over time.

    • File contains the Table of Contents to my chosen book.

      The book is primarily about/why I want to read it:
      – Collection of primary sources that recount the political economic status of the US after the Civil War (during Reconstruction) that led to the economy that collapsed, the Great Depression.
      – Good primary information about the events that lead to the Great Depression
      – Presidential primary sources
      -Hayes to McKinley

    • Attachment

      This book essentially complies Senate proceedings and hearings from when the ERA was in the Senate. I chose this book because I feel like it could offer a wealth of primary source information.

    • Attachment

      Book: Gun Violence and Mental Illness by Robert I. Simon. In this book Simon explores the connection of mental illness to the crimes committed that involve gun violence. The book makes the argument that there is a direct correlation between the two, and to solve or reduce gun violence we need to look towards finding ways to treat and study mental illnesses first. I think this is a good book because it offers context and evidence to back up the claim that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

    • Attachment

      Polarized: Making Sense of a Divided America is a starting point for someone looking to research or even learn about partisanship in the United States. It uses data, statistics, history, and political theory to explore where partisanship and political polarization in the United States came from.

    • Attachment

      This book discusses the legal and social impact of prostitution throughout history using the lens of feminist theory. Beyond just analyzing the history and ideology of prostitution, this book also comprehensively looks at several different ways (criminalization, abolition, decriminalization, and legalization) to regulate and make policy regarding heterosexual
      prostitution.

    • Attachment

      This book has a more objective account of not only U.S. mass surveillance, but also European history and privacy as an international norm. Within a single chapter, it covers the Church Committee, 9/11, the Spiral Model, and Edward Snowden, which makes the book a valuable historical account of U.S. domestic surveillance that offers plenty of extra information on international implications as well.

    • Attachment

      This book “Bending Spines: The Propagandas of Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic” written by Randall L. Bytwerk interests me the most since it includes most of the key terms in my question, like nature and also the effectiveness of the propaganda.

    • Attachment

      This book covers the health implications of many art fields, dance being one of them. I intend to use this book to describe the negative impacts of dance on a professional’s mental health.

    • This book is about the economic impact of hosting two major sporting events, the world cup, and the Olympics. It shows the long and short-term impacts and shows examples from 3 different Olympic games. Which are the Sochi, Rio, and London Games.

    • Attachment

      Final Report of the Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, The Human Radiation Experiments, 6 Jun. 1996, Human Radiation Experiments.

      This book details the age of nuclear weaponry which brought about human experimentation and the effects of radiation. I am interested in reading this book because an entire section of the book is dedicated to historical case studies of human experimentation and it provides a sense of which populations were used in these experiments.

    • Attachment

      I aim to examine the politics of abortion in the United States, specifically how the Republican Party changed their platform from anti-regulation to pro-life around the 1980s. I think that chapter 6 of this book, “Abortion Politics: Trojan Horses, Russian Dolls, and Realpolitik” will give me some good basic insight into the current and past political climate surrounding abortion.

  1. Attachment

    This book provides a comprehensive history of the creation of vaccines. Not only is the history of vaccines interesting, but to understand where the modern-day anti-vaxxer comes from, one must understand what worries them and the understanding of how vaccines were created is the first step in doing so.

Leave a Reply to Harry Han Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Separate ¶s with TWO returns.