Religion, Secularism, & Ethics

A diverse group of faculty at Iowa works on religion-related topics in ways that complicate neat divisions between the secular and the religious, reimagining religion, secularism, spirituality, and ethics in challenging new ways. Research interests range from the early modern period to the present and from British and American novels, poems, sermons and tracts to contemporary South Asian literature and film.

Faculty work in the following areas: the impact of Protestant antitheatricality on the aesthetic of a secular Renaissance theater; rethinking aesthetics and performance in early modern culture in terms of the book trades in Western Europe and their heavy concentration on religious publishing; the relation of religion and secularism to subjectivity in 18th-century Britain and in psychoanalytic and deconstructive-ethical theory; secularism as the product of European history exported to the rest of the world via colonialism; and contemporary spiritual novels of Gail Godwin and Susan Howatch.

Faculty