Lori Peterson Branch
Research InterestsRestoration & 18th-Century British Literature; Religion & Secularism; Literary Theory & Theology
My scholarship focuses on the British long 18th century and ranges from the 4th-century Sayings of the Desert Fathers to contemporary Gothic fiction. Across my work, I am interested in thinking critically about secularism as an ideology and finding fresh language to speak about religion in its breadth and complexity as we encounter it in literature, the world, and personal experience.
My conviction is that a thorough-going critique of the secular/religious binary produced in the Enlightenment upends our conventional understandings of both religion and secularity, enabling us to grapple with uncertainty, interpretation, and faith in ways that are postsecular and noncoercive, disarming the polarization that plagues our political climate and contributing to practices of human flourishing, in the academy and out.
Monographs: Rituals of Spontaneity: Sentiment and Secularism from Free Prayer to Wordsworth (Christianity & Literature Book of the Year 2007); Postsecular Reason (in progress); The Violation of God: Masculinity and Secularism in the Enlightenment (in progress).