The Universe is Indifferent

Theology, Philosophy, and Mad Men

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Ann W. Duncan, Jacob L. Goodson
  • Eugene, OR: 
    Wipf & Stock Publishers
    , November
     428 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Eden Consenstein forthcoming.


Centered upon the lives of employees at a Manhattan advertising firm, the AMC television series Mad Men touches on the advertising world's unique interests in consumerist culture, materialistic desire, and the role of deception in Western capitalism.
While the subject matters of the chapters in this collection have a decidedly socio-historical focus, the authors use basic topics as starting points for philosophical, religious, and theological reflections. The authors show how Mad Men reveals deep truths concerning the social trends of the 1960s and early 1970s in American life and deserves a significant amount of reflection from philosophical, religious, and theological perspectives. Some of the chapters go beyond mere reflection and make deeper inquiries into what these trends say about American cultural habits, the business world within Western capitalism, and the rapid social changes (gender, race, and sexuality) that occur during this period. Chapters examine paradigms of masculinity and femininity as well as the presentation of motherhood, fatherhood, sexuality, and childhood.
This collection shows how social change represents the undercurrent of the interpersonal dramas of the characters on Mad Men, from the staid and conventional early seasons to the war, assassinations, riots, and counterculture of later seasons.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Ann W. Duncan is Associate Professor of Religion at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. She is the coeditor of Church-State Issues in America Today (2007).

Jacob L. Goodson is Visiting Professor of Religious Ethics in the Department of Religious Studies at the College of William & Mary. He has published scholarly essays in The American Journal of Theology and Philosophy and Contemporary Pragmatism.

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