Poetic Relations, University of Chicago Press, 2017
Read my recent article "Erring Together: Renaissance Humanists in Certainty’s Shadow"
See my presentation at the University of Chicago's Craft of Teaching seminar
Read my essay "Punk Prayer and Passionate Friendship" about Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids
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Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Sycamore Hall, Rm. 226
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2000
B.A., Brown University, 1991.
- Christianity in Early Modern Europe
- Friendship and community formation
- Devotional poetry
- Gender and Religious Subjectivity
I am a scholar of Renaissance and Reformation Christianity, interested especially in the emergence of new types of religious and intellectual communities and theoretical questions of relationality and intersubjectivity. I wrote on religious humanism in my first book, Erasmus, Contarini, and the Religious Republic of Letters(Cambridge, 2006), and have published several articles and essays on the intertwining of friendship and utopian thought in early modern England. My current book project, Crowded Interiors: Sacred Selves and Relationships in English Renaissance Poetry, focuses on how devotional poetry by both male and female writers in the English Renaissance re-imagined intimate relationships as sites of utopian longing and fulfillment.
In this, as in my other research projects, I am interested in thinking about how religiously-motivated ideals and assumptions should be understood in relation to a whole host of social developments, ranging from the advent of print and new kinds of literary authority to the celebration of friendship, changing conceptions of marriage and patronage, and shifting assumptions about gender.
My interest in theory as well as historical analysis is reflected also in the courses I teach, which include not only surveys and thematic courses about Christianity, with a primary focus on the West, but also undergraduate and graduate courses on anthropological, sociological, and philosophical approaches to the study of religion. I am also involved in developing a new Initiative for the Humanistic Study of Innovation, a project close to my heart not only because of my interest in utopia but also because of the pressing need to demonstrate the value of the humanities--including the study of cultural phenomena from distant times as well as places--to the ongoing project of creating a better world today.
- James P. Holland Award for Exemplary Teaching and Service to Students, 2014
- Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award 2004, 2009
- College Arts and Humanities Institute Fellowship, 2009
- Harvard University Women's Studies in Religion Program, Research Associate, 2005-2006
- National Endowment for the Humanities Stipend, Summer 2002
- Indiana University Summer Faculty Fellowships
Courses Recently Taught
- REL-A 300 Sexuality and Gender in the Reformation
- REL–A 350 Christianity 400–1500
- REL-A 351 Christianity 1500-present
- REL A 450 Catholic Controversies: From Trent to the Present
- REL-R 203 The Reformation: Body and Word
- REL-R 389 Religion and Literature
- REL-R 389 Religion and Modernity: The Quest for Certainty
- REL-R 665 Interpretations of Religion
Poetic Relations: Intimacy and Faith in the English Reformation (forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, May 2017)
Erasmus, Contarini, and the Religious Republic of Letters (Cambridge University Press, September 2005)
"Erring Together: Renaissance Humanists in Certainty’s Shadow," The Journal of Religion Vol. 95, No. 4 (October 2015), pp. 454-476.
"Discernment as Critique in Teresa of Avila and Erasmus of Rotterdam," Exemplaria. 26.2-3 (2014), 254-272.
"Besides." The Immanent Frame (15 March 2012).
"Intimate Virtue: Puritan Marriage and Devotional Poetry." The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 42.1 (2012).
"Body, Society, and Subjectivity in Religious Studies," Journal of the American Academy of Religion. 80.1 (2012).
“Utopian History” Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 20.4 (2008), 385-398.
“The Selfe Undone: Individualism and Relationality in John Donne and Aemilia Lanyer” Harvard Theological Review, 99.4 (Fall 2006), 469-86.
"Invective and Discernment in Luther, Erasmus, and More" Harvard Theological Review, (October 2005), 469-88.