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Assigned Reading: Christine Whelan

Q&A with Professor Christine Whelan, a clinical professor in the Department of Consumer Science

Matt Rogge
April 20, 2016

Q&A with Professor Christine Whelan, a clinical professor in the Department of Consumer Science

In the first lecture of most of her classes, Professor Christine Whelan includes a line from Seneca: “Not for school but for life, we learn.” The sociologist’s commitment to putting academic learning to work in everyday life is reflected in her many publications, which include Generation WTF: From “What the #%$&?” to a Wise, Tenacious, and Fearless You and Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love.

Whelan’s expertise spans a broad array of topics, including self-improvement, relationship formation, marriage, gender, and social change. She brings these lines of inquiry together in innovative courses such as Consuming Happiness, which focuses on how we use the consumer economy to boost our well-being.

What I’m reading at the moment:


Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky
The Power of Purpose: Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better by Richard Leider
My assigned reading this semester includes:

Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton
The High Price of Materialism by Tim Kasser
The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World by Aaron Hurst

Periodicals and publications I enjoy paging through are:

The Week, Real Simple, and Mental Floss

Preference: curl up with a good book, or plug in to an e-reader:

A book, every time!

My favorite place on campus to read is:

On a sunny day, the third-floor deck of Nancy Nicholas Hall can’t be beat!

The book I would read over and over again is:

Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

If I were a character from a book, I’d be:

Dr. Pangloss from Voltaire’s Candide

My favorite author is:

Margaret Atwood

The book I keep meaning to get around to is:

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, which is my husband’s favorite book. But I’ve tried a half-dozen times to get through it, and I doubt I ever will.

The title of my memoirs — if I ever write them — would be:

Make God Laugh: Tell Him Your Plans

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