On the Spot with Merinda Simmons

“On the Spot” backs members of Culture on the Edge into a corner to talk about their backgrounds, their ongoing work, and what might be gained by an alternative understanding of how identity works.

merindaQ: Tell us a little bit about your doctoral studies, since they were not carried out in the academic study of religion, yet that’s the field in which you now work as a professor. How was your training in the Department of English relevant to the work you now do and the classes you now teach?

A: I never expected to end up teaching in a Religious Studies department.  But really, my studies in English overlap with the work I now do in a variety of ways.  The strands of literary criticism that I found most interesting were ones that questioned the roles of authorship, text, and readership.  The more literary theory I read, the more difficult it became for me to see “author” and “text”, for example, as two discrete categories.  I remember the first time I read “The Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes—I was completely floored.  And that was just the beginning!  Continue reading “On the Spot with Merinda Simmons”

“They Made the Whole Thing Up”

highfiveDo you know Radiolab? I think it’s a tremendous show, offering sophisticated social analyses but doing so in a very engaging format. The other day they replayed an older story (from November 2011) on the history of the high five.

Give it a listen. It’s about a half hour but it’s worth it. (And they make reference to the above pic.)

Continue reading ““They Made the Whole Thing Up””