As a grad student in English, I chose the Cultural Studies Track because I am a conservative evangelical Christian. Wait, what? On the surface, this pairing may seem contradictory since Christians have the reputation for being judgmental, homophobic, and generally narrow-minded whereas cultural studies embraces diversity of all kinds. I believe, however, that real Christianity engages culture rather than eschewing it. In fact, in the ENGL 705 “Intro to Cultural Studies” course last fall, I was fascinated by the first chapter of Judith Halberstam’s book In a Queer Time and Place. The idea that people should value or order their lives apart from bodily or material existence jumped out at me: Since when has it been a moral imperative to pursue health, longevity, or permanence? These actually sounded like first-century Christian ideals. Meanwhile, my main academic squeeze has long been medieval English literature, so out of this initial hint of similitude, I am developing a master’s project that considers how the Christian visionary experience of Julian of Norwich — a 14th century English recluse and mystic — subverts linear time and material space similarly to the queer time and space described by Halberstam. I hope my own personal grappling with, finding commonalities in, and maintaining differences between postmodernism and what used to be the roots of Christian values will prove useful in establishing common ground between two seemingly contradictory points of view.
— Grace Ure (M.A. ’18)