John Wesley Honors College awards 2014 Aldersgate Prize to Literature Scholar


Dr. Christina Bieber Lake, the Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College, is the recipient of the 2014 Aldersgate Prize for her book, Prophets of the Posthuman: American Literature, Biotechnology, and the Ethics of Personhood. Motivated by the ethos of its Christian liberal learning community, Indiana Wesleyan University's John Wesley Honors College awards the Aldersgate Prize annually to celebrate the outstanding achievement of an author whose scholarly inquiry challenges reductionistic trends in academia by yielding a broad, integrative analysis of life's complexities and by shedding fresh light on ultimate questions that enliven historic Christian conceptions of human flourishing.

After reviewing some seventy nominations for this year's prize, the selection committee was most impressed with Bieber Lake's wide-ranging and prophetic interrogation of the assumptions and aspirations that animate our biotechnological age. Drawing on insights and embodied wisdom about the human condition she finds in American novelists such as Flannery O'Connor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Marilynne Robinson, Bieber Lake offers a penetrating critique of the moral imagination that underwrites our late modern world's fixation on technological advancement. In the committee's estimation, "Prophets of the Posthuman is a model of interdisciplinary scholarship that demonstrates precisely why we need a broad variety of academic disciplines at the table as our society grapples with the developments and challenges shaping our age. As one committee member put it, "By drawing deeply on the particular strengths of her discipline, Bieber Lake demonstrates compellingly that we can navigate the treacherous ethical terrain of biogenetic technology with greater confidence and acumen by becoming careful readers of certain influential authors of American fiction whose stories have already mapped out the topography of this terrain in vivid and thought-provoking detail."

Bieber Lake will accept the Aldersgate Prize and its monetary award of $3,500 at the 2015 Celebration of Scholarship Luncheon (April 17, 2015) at Indiana Wesleyan University, where she will offer the keynote address.

Prophets of the Posthuman: American Literature, Biotechnology, and the Ethics of Personhoodis published by University of Notre Dame Press. The selection committee for the 2014 Aldersgate Prize included the faculty of the John Wesley Honors College, as well as Kersten Priest (Associate Professor of Sociology, IWU), Don Sprowl (Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, IWU), David Lyle Jeffrey (Distinguished Professor of Literature and Humanities, Baylor University), Willem Van De Merwe (Blanchard Chair in Physics, Indiana Wesleyan University, Emeritus), John Wilson (editor, Books and Culture), and Catherine Brekus (Charles Warren Professor of the History of Religion in America, Harvard University).

Nominations are open for the 2015 Aldersgate Prize.

Indiana Wesleyan University
4201 S. Washington St.
Marion, IN 46953