Caitlin Smith

BA (Honors) in English and Music History, University of North Texas (2014)

My current research focuses on early American literature, 19th-century literature (especially Melville), and questions of religious doubt and language. In the seventeenth century, the rise of print culture subjects religious language and religious identity to a new stress, by creating a multi-faith, multi-ethnic audience of readers. This stress foreshadows the "crisis of faith" that conditions many nineteenth-century writers' responses to early globalization. In both centuries, religious identity is simultaneously enlivened and threatened by expanding communication networks and a proliferation of print. The world becomes so much bigger than it seemed, and people connected to each other in new ways, in mass audiences. This triggers the question: How does religion work in this brave new world?
When I'm not investigating questions of language, philosophy, theology, and readership, I argue about superheroes, the literary canon, music theory, and whether Pope Leo X or John Calvin would win in a fistfight. 

Recent Scholarly Activity
"'A Message from Beneath the Stone': the Religious Language and Linguistic Religion of Clarel," presented at the 10th Annual International Melville Conference, June 2015

Contact Information
300 O'Shaughnessy Hall (Office Hours)
205 Coleman Morse (Mailbox)