Skip to main content


Technology, the Supernatural, & Social Gospel: Post-war Debates about Industry & the Order of Creation

Thursday Lecture Series, Supernatural

dateFebruary 15, 2018 timeThursday, 12:15pm EST location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University
  • Whitney Laemmli
  • Audience open exclusively to Columbia faculty, students, and invited guests
  • All others interested in attending, please email SOF/Heyman at [email protected].
Extreme close-up of circuit

How and why does the supernatural become productive, political, visible, and sensible – and how does it disappear?”The organizers of the Lecture Series posed this question, and this talk addresses it in concrete, material terms, asking how debates about the supernatural origins of the universe appeared in post-war European debates about industry, industrial society, and human social needs. The talk contrasts different responses offered by liberal and evangelical Christian groups to the social dislocations of post-war industrial society. Both liberal and evangelical groups developed arguments about industry as part the supernatural order of creation, but the two groups different greatly in the responses they offered.One group used the supernatural or divine sanction of industry as a call to reform it; the other as a justification for industrial and social laissez faire.