“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.
Q: 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”