Lunchtime Lecture: "We are Changed Souls": Prophetic Critique and Post-Secular Hope in the Fiction of Douglas Coupland

Speaker(s): Mary McCampbell
Date: Winter 2018
Length: 48m
Product ID: RGDL4802C

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The postreligious space of Vancouverite Douglas Coupland's fiction provides a backdrop for a disenchanted consumer collective nursed on advertising slogans rather than Sunday school parables. After ironically exposing the false promises of postmodern paradise, Coupland often resacralizes the secular concepts of epiphany and apocalypse in order to invest the lives of his suburbanite protagonists with a sense of wonder and desire for transcendence.

nnCoupland's poignant and prophetic critiques of the commodification of both secular and evangelical North American culture are telling and instructive, but is the church listening? Dr. Mary McCampbell explores the ways in which engaging with Coupland's critiques of both the church and the world can aid with our own spiritual formation.

See All Audio by Mary McCampbell

Mary McCampbell is a scholar-in-residence at Regent College for the 2018 winter term. She is an associate professor of humanities at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, where she teaches courses on postmodern theory and fiction, film and philosophy, and popular culture. A native Tennessean, she completed a doctorate in literature at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne focusing on the relationship between contemporary fiction, late capitalist culture, and the religious impulse.nnHer publications span the worlds of literature, film, and popular music, and while in Vancouver, she will be working on a book titled Postmodern Prophetic: The Religious Impulse in Contemporary Fiction. This monograph will focus on post-secular aspects of the novels of Douglas Coupland, Chuck Palahniuk, Dave Eggers, Bret Easton Ellis, and Nick Hornby, authors that occupy a liminal space between the popular sphere and the academy, garnering both cult status and scholarly attention. Her research on this work, a genre often referred to as 'blank fiction,' has uncovered a distinctly postmodern prophetic impulse, an interesting interplay between Ricoeur's 'hermeneutics of suspicion' and Brueggemann's 'prophetic imagination.'nnMary's primary research has been on the themes of epiphany and apocalypse in the work of Canadian author and artist, Douglas Coupland. While in Vancouver and at Regent, she also plans to spend a significant amount of time working in Coupland's archives (more than 200 boxes) that are housed in UBC's special collections.nnShe has been one of the organizers of Calvin College's Festival of Faith and Music since 2009, and she frequently speaks and teaches on the theological significance of popular music, film, and fiction. Mary was the Summer 2014 Writer-in-Residence at L'Abri Fellowship in Greatham, England and periodically lectures at English L'Abri.

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