The University of Iowa

Lori Branch

Lori Branch
Associate Professor
Office: 
368 EPB
Phone: 
319-353-2466
Curriculum Vitae: 
Research Interests: 
Restoration & 18th-Century British Literature; Religion & Secularism; Literary Theory & Theology

My scholarship focuses on the British long 18th century but has ranged from the 4th-century Sayings of the Desert Fathers to the Twilight saga. Across these various inquiries, I am interested in forging an interdisciplinary theoretical apparatus for thinking critically about secularism as an ideology and in finding fresh language to speak about religion in its breadth and complexity, within a discipline that often erases the religious, either passing over it in silence or making it a function of material determinants. My conviction is that a thorough-going critique of the secular/religious binary produced by Enlightenment thinking in the West upends our conventional understandings of both, enabling a grappling with epistemological indeterminacy, interpretation, faith and love that is distinctively literary and genuinely post-secular.

MonographsRituals of Spontaneity: Sentiment and Secularism from Free Prayer to Wordsworth (2007); The Violation of God: Masculinity and Secularism in the Enlightenment (in progress); Post-Secular Critique: An Anti-Manifesto (in progress).

Undergraduate courses: “Restoration Literature and The Modern Self”; “Literature and Culture of 18th-C. Britain: Love, Money, and the Literature of Commerce”; “Gothic Literature: Origins to Twilight”; “Introduction to Theory and Criticism”; “Children’s Literature: Modern British Classics”; “Introduction to Post-Secular Studies.”

Graduate courses: “Introduction to Theory and Criticism”; “The Origins and Rise of the English Novel”; “Lacan, Zizek, and the Religious Turn.” Primary doctoral seminar: “Religion, Secularism, and Modernity: Towards a Post-Secular Criticism.”