On Campus | Alumni
Ashe Administration Building, 511
Friday, November 2, 2012, 1:30 – 2:30pm
The Religious Studies Brain Bag Lunch Colloquium Series presents Professor Catherine Newell on "Faith, the Future, and the American Frontier. In the decade after World War II scientifically accurate representations of outer space--presented in best-selling American magazines like Life and Collier's--helped popularize the concept of space exploration. In particular, the space paintings of Chesley Bonestell, an architect-turned-movie special effects artist, were a cultural touchstone for the early Cold War era. These paintings open up a larger question of how science is affected by the religious history and the lived religion of the culture from which that science comes. In the case of the origins of the American space program, the answer lies in two places: the effect of the myth of the American frontier on Cold War religion and culture, and how what mid-century sociologist Will Herberg called "the American Way of Lie" created an unshakable faith in America's future on the new frontier of space.Professor Catherine Newell is a lecturer for the Departments of English and Religious Studies at UM. She earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her M.A. thesis, "Infinite Space and the Popular Imagination," examined the process by which a scientific or religious concept can be assimilated into popular culture through science fiction. In her Ph.D. dissertation on "The Wheels of Titan: Faith, the Future, and the American Frontier," Newell examined the process by which the myth of the American frontier shaped Cold War religion and culture, and how "the American Way of Lie" influenced both the science and the spirit of space boosterism throughout the 1950s.Join us in the Ashe Building 511 on Nov. 2 at 1:30 p.m. for her presentation.