D6 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.


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?

34 responses to “D6 Class 10.1

    • “Blinded by political tribalism and hatred for their political opponents, these leaders can’t see how they are undermining the causes to which they once dedicated their lives.”

    • “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 single largest religious demographic in the United States—representing about half the Republican political coalition—sees itself as a besieged and disrespected minority. In this way, evangelicals have become simultaneously more engaged and more alienated.”

    • “In the mid-19th century, evangelicalism was the predominant religious tradition in America—a faith assured of its social position, confident in its divine calling, welcoming of progress, and hopeful about the future. Fifty years later, it was losing intellectual and social ground on every front. Twenty-five years beyond that, it had become a national joke.”

    • “Those experiences make me hesitant to abandon the word evangelical. They also make seeing the defilement of that word all the more painful. The corruption of a political party is regrettable. The corruption of a religious tradition by politics is tragic, shaming those who participate in it.”

    • “Evolution is a fact. It is objectively true based on overwhelming evidence. By denying this, evangelicals made their entire view of reality suspect. They were insisting, in effect, that the Christian faith requires a flight from reason”

    • “The moral convictions of many evangelical leaders have become a function of their partisan identification. This is not mere gullibility; it is utter corruption.”

    • “If you criticize the devaluation of life by euthanasia, then you must criticize the devaluation of life by racism. If you want to be regarded as pro-family, then you have to support access to health care. And vice versa.”

    • “The country, meanwhile, was becoming less secular and more welcoming of religious influence. (In 1920, church membership in the United States was 43 percent. By 1960, it was 63 percent.)”

    • As the prominent evangelical pastor Tim Keller—who is not a Trump loyalist—recently wrote in The New Yorker, “ ‘Evangelical’ used to denote people who claimed the high moral ground; now, in popular usage, the word is nearly synonymous with ‘hypocrite.’ ”

    • “Fox News and talk radio are vastly greater influences on evangelicals’ political identity than formal statements by religious denominations or from the National Association of Evangelicals. In this Christian political movement, Christian theology is emphatically not the primary motivating factor.”

    • “They believed that the final millennium of human history would be a time of peace for the world and of expansion for the Christian Church, culminating in the Second Coming of Christ. As such, they were an optimistic lot who thought that human effort could help hasten the arrival of this promised era—a belief that encouraged both social activism and global missionary activity.”

    • “In practice, this acts as an “if, then” requirement for Catholics, splendidly complicating their politics: If you want to call yourself pro-life on abortion, then you have to oppose the dehumanization of migrants. If you criticize the devaluation of life by euthanasia, then you must criticize the devaluation of life by racism. If you want to be regarded as pro-family, then you have to support access to health care. And vice versa. The doctrinal whole requires a broad, consistent view of justice, which—when it is faithfully applied—cuts across the categories and clichés of American politics. Of course, American Catholics routinely ignore Catholic social thought.”

    • My alma mater, Wheaton College, was founded by abolitionist evangelicals in 1860 under the leadership of Jonathan Blanchard, an emblematic figure in mid-19th-century Northern evangelicalism. Blanchard was part of a generation of radical malcontents produced by the Second Great Awakening, a religious revival that had touched millions of American lives in the first half of the 19th century.

    • “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.”

    • “Moreover, in making their case on cultural decay and decline, evangelicals have, in some highly visible cases, chosen the wrong nightmares. Most notable, they made a crucial error in picking evolution as a main point of contention with modernity. ‘The contest between evolution and Christianity is a duel to the death,’ William Jennings Bryan argued.”

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      Racial Paranoia by John L. Jackson.
      It’s a book about the consequences of political correctness and how race dynamics in today’s world lead to a creeping feeling of racial paranoia. Furthermore, it also discusses how we can combat underlying racial problems that hide behind politically correct surfaces.

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      The novel, Outer Space and Popular Culture: Influences and Interrelations, appears to be discussing the impacts of space exploration on American culture, specifically touching on movies, magazines, and propaganda. Additionally, it delves into changes targeted towards the youth, such as alterations in education and playground equipment, in hopes to inspire a future generation of space explorers.

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      Imperial Ambitions by Noam Chomsky. The book is an organized collection of interviews with David Barsamian. The questions themselves are about American foreign policy with a focus on the post-9/11 era.

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      Deviance and Medicalization: From Badness to Sickness by Peter Conrad and Joseph W. Schneider

      This book is an examination of the history of the way mental illness has been treated in society dating as far back as from during the biblical era up until the time this book had been written in 1992. From the authors’ examinations they come to the conclusion how what was once saw as “madness” has gradually overtime become seen as an illness, and they make an attempt to explore why that happens.

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      25 Events That Shaped Asian American History: an Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic by Lang Dong
      This book tells us the key events of Asian Americans in a chronological order and allows readers to have a glance of the controversies existing in Asian American history. By listing a series of important events of Asian Americans and link them together with other national events, the author Dong appears to examine the impact and involvement of Asian Americans.

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      Feminist Theory Today: An introduction to Second-Wave Feminism
      This novel delves into the changes which occurred in socialist feminism from its origins to the current day focus. It provides a unique examination of feminist political thoughts through the archives of the modern feminist theory. I am interested in this novel because of the deeper analysis and critique of the beginnings of the second wave of feminism.

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      Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal by Eugene Soltes.

      By introducing to the readers well-known white-collar criminals like Bernie Madoff, this book investigates the reasons which lead people to conduct financial crimes despite acknowledging that they will be destroying their already successful careers. In my opinion, in the book, Soltes manages to take the first step in identifying ways to prevent white-collar crime, which is increasingly observed today.

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      The Sparrow and the Hawk by Kyle Longley.

      This book examines the intervention by the United States and it’s intelligence apparatus into Costa Rica on behalf of capital interests in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The United States has remained involved since, and the country has yet to recover from the damage dealt to it by the neoliberal American interests during the Cold War.

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      Madeline Y. Hsu, in her book The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority, explores the shift from “yellow peril” to “model minority” by examining the immigration laws and political and cultural relations between US and China. She includes many personal stories from individuals which I find personally interesting to read, especially since it’s through the eyes of someone who experienced first-hand the discrimination in the time period.

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      Marek Korczynski, Songs of the Factory : Pop Music, Culture, and Resistance, 2015, https://ebookcentral.proquest......038;query=
      Hyunjoon Shin and Seung-Ah Lee, Made in Korea : Studies in Popular Music, 2016, https://ebookcentral.proquest......ID=4684067
      Vincent L. Stephens, Rocking the Closet: How Little Richard, Johnnie Ray, Liberace, and Johnny Mathis Queered Pop Music, 2019, https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.......ctvswx82r

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      The Great Han: Race, Nationalism, and Tradition in China Today, 2017 by Kevin Carrico. This book seems to explore the origin of nationalism in China, which can be tied to my research topic in Chinese racism towards other minority groups. The book tries to explain why xenophobia is prevalent in China and where do these hatreds and prejudices truly stem from.

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      5 Grams: Crack Cocaine, Rap Music, and the War on Drugs by Dimitri Bogazianos
      This book is about how the war on drugs, specifically crack, has impacted the rap game and impacted lyrics specifically. I am interested to read this book because music is something that interests me and I am excited to learn more about the history of one of my favorite genres of music.

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      Jo B. Paoletti, Sex and Unisex: Fashion, Feminism, and the Sexual Revolution, 2015

      This book discusses the sexual revolution of the 60s through analyzing the qualities of gender, most notably fashion. It seems to be a perfect source for my research as it describes trends throughout the decade and even includes excerpts from magazines or newspapers at the time.

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    The law of crimes in Pennsylvania: including criminal evidence by William Trickett
    This book is from the early 1900s and gives an interesting overview of the different legal actions that would be taken at the time for abortions specifically in Pennsylvania. In certain situations, the book explains the technicalities for different outcomes or intents of abortions.

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    The Pol Pot Regime 1975-79 : Race, Power, and Genocide in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-79 by Ben Kiernan

    This book tells the in depth story of the most horrific genocides to take place because of communism. I think the horrors of genocide are often scaled back to just figures and I want to be able to tell the full scope of the entire narrative.

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