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”