Much of Ragen’s work deals with Popular Culture, especially as it intersects with high culture. A Wreck on the Road to Damascus discusses Flannery O’Connor’s Thomism and her literary use of typology, but it also casts an eye upon TV ads, popular movies, and writers of popular fiction. In the same way, Tom Wolfe: A Critical Companion puts its subject in the great tradition of American writing, but also follows Wolfe’s lead in looking at parts of American culture beyond the academy and the (often self-described) centers of culture. In the essays listed below, Ragen explores a number of different areas of American life.

The Continued Wanderings of the American Adam

“Driving Away from Depravity: Automobiles and the Myth of Freedom”

“‘Anchor Chains, Plane Motors, Train Whistles’:
It’s a Wonderful Life and the American Adam”

AIDS in the 80’s and 90’s.

“TV, AIDS, and Retribution”

“Red and Yellow Ribbons: AIDS Victims as War Heroes”

“Kaposi’s Stigma: AIDS Victims as Martyrs”


“To Do or To Suffer: The Changing Focus of American Memorials”