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Dr. Luke Ferretter
Assistant Professor of English
"I wanted to be somewhere that was intellectually world-class plus distinctively Christian," says Dr. Luke Ferretter, explaining why he joined Baylor's English faculty. At Baylor, he feels free to pursue the directions he wants in his research and his teaching.
Ferretter says he first began thinking about Christianity as a way of understanding literature when he was an undergraduate. He converted to Christianity as a first-year English major, and when contemporary critical theories seemed to contradict his new Christian perspective, he didn't back away from the conflict; instead, he wrote a Ph.D. dissertation entitled Toward a Christian Literary Theory, which became his first book.
Aside from his interests in understanding literary theory and contemporary culture through Christianity, Ferretter also explores what he perceives as "gaps" in 20th Century American and British Literature. For example, when he saw that most criticism on Sylvia Plath focused on her poetry, he wrote on Plath's fiction. He has been working to fill the gap of criticism on works by J.D. Salinger other than The Catcher in the Rye. He is also interested in studying the religious significance of works that don't seem to be religious-or may even seem anti-religious-by authors from D.H. Lawrence to Jacques Derrida. He enjoys employing a variety of critical methods in his work, from Christian approaches to women's studies.
In his classes, Ferretter above all wants to help his students explore and weigh ideas. He teaches graduate-level courses on Contemporary Critical Theory, Modern American Literature, and Sylvia Plath, and hopes to teach a course on D.H. Lawrence in the near future. At the undergraduate level, he teaches Modern American Novel, Postmodernism, Contemporary Critical Theory, Samuel Beckett, Sylvia Plath, and British Literature. Look out for a future course on Contemporary American Fiction.
"I believe that reading texts enlarges your capacity for knowledge and moral action," he says, describing both what the study of literature means for him and the goals he has for his students. "I want my students to work out the meaning of what they read for themselves. That skill will help them make better decisions in the world." And perhaps the skills they leave with will help them as they consider "gaps" that exist outside the university.