Postmodernism in Pieces: Materializing the Social in U.S. Fiction

Dr. Matthew Mullins has a new work coming out: Postmodernism in Pieces:  Materializing the Social in U.S. Fiction.


Image Source: Oxford University Press

Postmodernism in Pieces performs a postmortem on what is perhaps the most contested paradigm in literary studies. In the wake of a critical consensus proclaiming its death, Matthew Mullins breaks postmodernism down into its most fundamental orthodoxies and reassembles it piece by piece in light of recent theoretical developments in Actor-Network-Theory, object-oriented philosophy, new materialism, and posthumanism. In the last two decades postmodernism has collapsed under the weight of the very phenomena it set out to deconstruct: language, whiteness, masculinity, class, the academy. Recasting these categories as social constructs has done little to alleviate their material effects. Through detailed analyses of everyday objects in novels by Leslie Marmon Silko, Toni Morrison, Jonathan Lethem, John Barth, David Foster Wallace, Don DeLillo, and Julia Alvarez, Mullins argues that what makes fiction postmodern is its refusal to accept “social” explanations for problems facing a given culture, and its tendency instead to examine everyday things and people as constituent pieces of larger networks. The result is a new story of postmodernism, one that reimagines postmodernism as a starting point for a new mode of literary history rather than a finish line for modernity.

Dr. Mullins is Assistant Professor of English and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.

Exploring Hope Podcast: What is the “Image of God”?

This week on the Exploring Hope Podcast, Dr. Dew sits down with Dr. John Hammett to ask him about the Image of God. Genesis 1:26-27 tells us that, unlike the rest of creation, God created us in His own image. This “Imago Dei” has been debated by various theologians over the centuries. What exactly does this mean, and how does it separates us from animals? In what way do we reflect God as image bearers? Is it reason? Is it consciousness? Is it relationship with God? Tune in as Dr. Hammett tackles this important question and helps us think it through.



In Case You Missed It

Earlier this week at The Gospel Coalition, Trevin Wax wrote about Intervarsity and the revisionist hope for a place at the table. Trevin writes:

InterVarsity made headlines this week for requiring their staff to affirm the historic Christian position that all sexual expression is reserved for male-female marriage.


Critics claimed that same-sex marriage should not be a litmus test for staff members. IVCF should, instead, model a more inclusive approach that recognizes a diversity of views within the organization. By requiring employees to agree with IVCF’s doctrinal stance on marriage, the organization had lifted marriage to a non-negotiable. Since IVCF does not treat other issues this way (baptism, speaking in tongues, women in ministry), it is problematic for the organization to lift marriage to this level, alienate longtime supporters, and marginalize LGBT-affirming voices.


I’ve written before why marriage is not an “agree to disagree” issue but an architectural doctrine of the Christian faith.


At the Intersect Project website, James Ford wrote a piece on calibrating Christian eyes.

A battle is raging. You may not know about this battle — if so, you may be more likely to become a casualty. What is this battle? It’s the battle of depiction.


The church’s mission is to call people to faith and worship; however, the stories our culture tells depict faith and worship less than favorably. When was the last time you saw a person of faith depicted on screen with whom you would like to be associated? Devout, as depicted on screen, is not something you want to be. In addition, and more generally, good is depicted as evil and evil is depicted as good.


Courtlandt Perkins shared on race and the Great Commission at the Center for Great Commission Studies blog. Courtlandt writes:

“I’m a Christian and I think white Christians don’t care about my black life.”
This was a raw but honest thought that weighed heavily on my mind this Summer of 2016. National news and social media were flooded with pictures, videos, hate filled tweets, and Scriptures addressing racial tensions in America, that were highlighted by the deaths of black people by cops and the retaliatory murders of cops by rogue black men. The loss of human life grieves me whether it is someone who looks like me or not, but after moving to a predominantly white neighborhood and attending a predominately white seminary for almost a year now, I was beginning to wonder whether or not my burden for black lives being lost was shared with others that I had the Gospel in common.


Bruce Ashford shared nine books on religious liberty (and its enemies) at this personal blog earlier this week. Dr. Ashford writes:

Here are nine books I recommend to pastors, professors, and students who wish to gain a better understanding of religious liberty and the threats against it. I will describe each book and then rank its level of difficulty on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most difficult. A Level 1 book is one you could give to any friend or family member. A Level 5 book is one that would be required in a PhD seminar. The list is also organized with the more accessible books at the beginning of the list and the more challenging books at the end.


Mark Dance recently shared his top six mistakes as a young pastor.

I made several mistakes in my first decade of ministry. I want to leverage the pain of the top six of those mistakes to help younger pastors succeed instead of suffer.


And finally, a reminder from Dr. Danny Akin, that we can maintain our commitments and convictions on one hand, and at the same time exhibit those commitments and convictions with grace and humility on the other.