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Sci Tech    H4'ed 3/14/10

Who Was Walter Ong, and Why Is His Thought Important Today?

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In the 1990s, Scholars Press, the publishing arm of the AmericanAcademy of Religion, published four volumes of Ong's essays under the general title Faith and Contexts, edited by Thomas J. Farrell and Paul A. Soukup (1992a, 1992b, 1995, 1999).

In 2000, Hampton Press published in the Media Ecology series my book Walter Ong's Contributions to Cultural Studies: The Phenomenology of the Word and I-Thou Communication, which is a reader's guide to eleven of Ong's books.

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In 2002, Hampton Press published An Ong Reader: Challenges for Further Inquiry, edited by Thomas J. Farrell and Paul A. Soukup, the biggest single-volume collection of pieces by Ong a very accessible collection.

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On August 12, 2003, Walter Ong died of pneumonia in a suburban St. Louis hospital. He had suffered from Parkinson's disease for a number of years and as a result was frail and susceptible to pneumonia. He was 90. He lived a full and productive life. May he rest in peace.

Not bad, eh, for a Roman Catholic priest who came to public prominence at a time when the anti-Catholic spirit of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) culture was still alive and well in the United States?

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)
 

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