Kathryn Ludwig comes to us from Purdue University, where she earned her Ph.D. in English, specializing in twentieth-century American literature and Jewish philosophy. She has published articles on the topic of the postsecular in contemporary literature and is an officer for the American Religion and Literature Society. She will be teaching courses in composition and literature.
How would you describe your perspective on teaching?
Differentiation is very important to me in the classroom. Every class is made up of people with different backgrounds and learning styles. I seek to bring my own passion for the subject matter into contact with each student’s disposition toward learning in the given context. My responsibility is to teach in ways that will be meaningful to my diverse audience. Thus, my work as an instructor begins with learning.
What are you currently reading, if anything?
I am currently reading LaRose by Louise Erdrich. She’s one of my favorite authors. I’m also re-reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am for a scholarly project.
When are your office hours?
Thursdays 12am-2pm and by appointment.
What is a text that you think everyone should read?
Emmanuel Levinas’ Totality and Infinity has important things to say about seeing the face of the Other. I’d also love to see more people read Martin Buber’s I and Thou. I love Harry Potter and have read the series with each of my two older children. Neil Gaiman is a new favorite of mine and his Neverwhere is wonderful. Is that too many? 😁
A lot of your past work seems to be focused on the concept of examining literature in a postsecular environment. Can you describe what “postsecular studies” is? Also, is this something you’re still studying now?
Yes, I am still active in postsecular studies. I continue to publish on the subject and I am an officer with the American Religion and Literature Society. This spring we hosted a session on the postsecular at the ALA (American Literature Association) conference in Boston. I’ll be presenting a paper on the subject at MLA this winter.
Those of us engaged in this study have differing definitions of the term “postsecular.” Generally, we agree that it has to do with rethinking the religious/secular binary. The postsecular in literary studies examines the status of the religious in literature. My own work is focused on contemporary American literature.
What are some of your hobbies or interests?
Naturally, reading is my number one hobby. The rest of my free time is dedicated to family–my four children and extended family.