Claire Potter on Academics and the University of Facebook

DATE: 13 October 2014
TIME:
11:00-12:00
LOCATION:
IUPUI Campus Center, Room 268
Tickets are free, but registration is required.

Dr. Claire Potter, “The University of Facebook”

What role does social media play in our careers as activist academics who are, to paraphrase psychologist Sherry Turkle, increasingly “alone together?” Social media is playing a crucial role in weaving together networks of academics across the oundaries of region, institutional status, and field. Conversations on Facebook simulate the comfort zone of the faculty lounge or the cocktail party after a Dr. Claire Potterdistinguished lecture. People share gossip, humor and express political views that merge with their scholarly interests.  But if crowd-sourcing a syllabus has the enormous advantage of staying in minute-by-minute contact with colleagues, what are the rules? And, if one’s house is no longer easily separated from one’s work space, under what conditions do we need to imagine our utterances on social media as occurring in the workplace too? Do academics have a lot to learn from teenagers?

About Dr. Claire Potter

Dr. Claire Bond Potter has been Professor of History at The New School for Public Engagement since 2012. She has a BA in English Literature from Yale University and a Ph.D. in History from New York University.

Dr. Potter is the author of War on Crime: Bandits, G-Men and the Politics of Mass Culture (Rutgers University Press, 1998) and an editor, with Renee Romano, of Doing Recent History: On Privacy, Copyright, Video Games, Institutional Review Boards, Activist Scholarship, and History That Talks Back (University of Georgia Press, 2012).  She is currently writing a political history of anti-pornography campaigns, Beyond Pornography: Feminism, the Reagan Revolution and the Politics of Gender Violence, and a collection of essays on academia in the digital age, Digital U: Why Crowdsourcing, Social Media, Word Press and Google Hangouts Could Save the Historical Profession.

Since 2007 Dr. Potter has written at Tenured Radical, a blog that moved to The Chronicle of Higher Education in July 2011.

With Renee Romano of Oberlin College, Dr. Potter edits a book series, Since 1970: Histories of Contemporary America, for the University of Georgia Press. Dr. Potter also serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the History of Sexuality and is a co-director of OutHistory.org, re-launching its new website in October 2013.

Bradbury lecture celebrates master storyteller’s birthday and legacy

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Center for Ray Bradbury Studies Director Jonathan Eller with science fiction and fantasy magazines with Ray Bradbury stories, part of the Bradbury-Albright Collection.

INDIANAPOLIS — Professor Jonathan Eller, director of IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English, will present the inaugural Bradbury Lecture at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20.

The lecture, in the West Reading Room of the Indianapolis Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St., is free and open to the public.

“Ray Bradbury in the Twenty-First Century” draws on the unique and extensive archives of the Bradbury Center, which is home to the iconic author’s papers, his working library, and a lifetime of his awards and mementos. These materials, recent gifts of the Bradbury family and the author’s longtime friend and bibliographer, Donn Albright, are part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Everybody knows a Ray Bradbury story,” Eller said. “Generations of school children and college students have read his work in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks; teachers and librarians continue to value his stories and his poetic, metaphor-rich style.”

Bradbury’s stories have a unique staying power in American culture.

“He published more than 400 stories,” Eller said. “And he wove them into such modern classics as ‘The Martian Chronicles,’ ‘The Illustrated Man,’ ‘The Golden Apples of the Sun,’ ‘The October Country,’ and two enduring titles that emerged from his Midwestern childhood: ‘Dandelion Wine’ and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes.’ ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ his classic cautionary tale of censorship and book burning, remains a perennial bestseller more than 60 years after publication.”

Eller’s illustrated presentation will focus on two intriguing questions: How did Ray Bradbury, a child of the Great Depression who never attended college, become one of the best-known American writers of his time? And why does this master storyteller of the 20th century remain a powerful cultural influence today?

The inaugural Bradbury Lecture falls during the author’s birthday week, and Eller plans to schedule subsequent lectures each August as Bradbury’s centennial year — 2020 — rapidly approaches.

Eller said, “He was born in 1920, when the Martian Canals of Percival Lowell and Edgar Rice Burroughs were still high in the American imagination; he passed away in 2012, just as the Curiosity Rover was about to land on Mars, at a site named in Ray Bradbury’s honor.” The center’s holdings include artifacts that have orbited the Earth, and Eller’s lecture will also assess the author’s lasting impact on the American space program.

The timing of the first Bradbury Lecture is especially significant. “Ray Bradbury Unbound,” the second volume of Eller’s three-volume study of Bradbury’s life and career, will be published by the University of Illinois Press in early September. At the same time, Kent State University Press will publish volume two of the Bradbury Center’s “Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury,” a series that recovers the seldom-seen original versions of Bradbury’s earliest published stories.

The Bradbury Lecture also kicks off a campaign to expand the Bradbury Center at IUPUI so that students, researchers and the general public can have better access to the archives and artifacts belonging to one of America’s premier storytellers.

The Bradbury Lecture is presented by the Indianapolis Public Library in conjunction with the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies. Parking for the Indianapolis Central Library is available via Pennsylvania Street in the library garage for a fee.

For more information about the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, call 317-274-2173 or visit the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies’ website.

Midwest meadows, Madrid, mapping influence October Herron exhibitions

UntitledBerkshire, Reese and Paul Galleries
Shawn Decker Prairie

Positioned at the intersection of music composition, visual art and performance, Chicago Artist Shawn Decker’s work uses physical and electronic media to investigate the natural and unnatural world.

By way of its most recent stop in Austria, his work Prairie will arrive at Herron School of Art and Design’s Berkshire, Reese and Paul galleries with an opening artists talk and reception on September 26 beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Prairie is a large-scale kinetic sound sculpture. This installation presents visual elements that mimic prairie grasses as well as sound elements that evoke sounds of the prairie—from insects to wind playing in the grasses. The irony of a human construction with digital programming that ends up producing a meditative, seemingly natural environment is not lost on the artist.

Basile Auditorium
Artists Talk: Shawn Decker and Lanny Silverman

Joining Decker for a discussion of the current state of contemporary and avant garde art forms will be independent curator Lanny Silverman, formerly curator of exhibitions for the Chicago Cultural Center Department of Cultural Affairs.

Marsh Gallery
Lost in Translation:
Student Work from Herron’s Summer Study Abroad Program in Spain

Professors Anila Agha and Stefan Petranek not only conducted a summer scholarly excursion to Spain, the two will curate a showcase of student sculptures, drawings and photographs compelled by student travel experiences in Madrid and Barcelona. Some of the works were exhibited at the Makers of Barcelona gallery in June 2014, but this exhibit will include work created since the students’ return. Participating artists are: Helen ArthBrianna Campbell,Devan HimstedtJessica KartawichCarolyn KypchikChristine (Jazz) LongMary McClungEvan RiceBrittany Rudolf andHadia Shaikh.

Basile Gallery
Reagan Furqueron

A solo exhibition will feature new works by Director of Foundation Studies and Assistant Professor Reagan Furqueron that explore the ideas of transition and mapping through a sculptural approach to making—a departure from Furqueron’s usual making mode.

Study: “The Bible in American Life”

UntitledThe year 2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible. It also marked the beginning of a three-year Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI ) study of the Bible’s place in the everyday lives of Americans.

With a $507,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture – a program of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI – set out to answer questions of how, where, when and why ordinary Americans use the Bible.

According to findings made public online in the 44-page “The Bible in American Life” report, the four-centuries-old King James Version of the Bible is far from dead. Despite its archaic language and a market flooded with newer, more modern English translations, more than half of the individuals and two-fifths of the congregations surveyed still prefer the King James Bible.

And of those surveyed, African Americans reported the highest levels of Bible engagement.

Seventy percent of all blacks said they read the Bible outside of public worship services, compared to 44 percent for whites, 46 percent for Hispanics and 28 percent for all other races.

Bible memorization is highest among black respondents, 69 percent, compared to 51 percent among white conservative Protestants and 31 percent among white moderate/liberal Protestants.

“There are no measures, individually or in congregations, where ‘black’ is not strongly correlated with the most conservative, most active, most involved level of scriptural engagement, no matter which other group comes closest,” the report says.

“If one wanted to predict whether someone had read the Bible, believed it to be the literal or inspired Word of God, and used it to learn about many practical aspects of life, knowing whether or not that person was black is the single best piece of information one could have.”

The report first looks at the practice of scripture reading in the United States, and then explores eight measures among those who read the Bible, such as Bible translation used; scripture memorization habits; favorite passages; and race.

Roughly half of Americans have read religious scripture outside of a public worship service in the past year. For 95 percent of those, the Bible is the scripture they read.

What did the study reveal about Bible readers?

Most of those people read at least monthly, and a substantial number – 9 percent of all Americans – read every day.

Women were more likely to read than men; older people were more likely to read than younger; Southerners were more likely to read than those of any other region.

The percentage of verse memorizers among Bible readers (48 percent) equates to roughly a fourth of the American population as a whole, or nearly 80 million people.

Psalm 23 – which begins “The Lord is my shepherd” – was the most popular Biblical passage.

Younger people, those with higher salaries and, most dramatically, those with more education among the respondents read the Bible on the internet or an e-device at higher rates.

The written report, based on survey questions on both the General Social Survey (1,551 individuals) and the National Congregations Study III (denominations represented among the General Social Survey respondents), is the first stage of the study and offers sociological data about the role of the Bible.

“Historians and sociologists have been working for years to understand how religion is lived out on a daily level,” said Philip Goff, executive director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and one of the three principal investigators who led the study. “This gives us a good snapshot of the practice of Bible reading. That should also help ministers understand the people in their pews.”

Goff’s co-investigators are Arthur Farnsley, associate director of the center; and Peter Thuesen, chair of the Department of Religious Studies at IUPUI.

full article found here

E.O. Wilson and Katherine Hayles “What Makes us Human?”

Entanglements Lecture Series
E.O. Wilson and Katherine Hayles, “What Makes us Human?”
October 8, 2014 | 7:00-8:45
Indianapolis Central Library, Clowes Auditorium
$35 general admission | $15 students

When did we become human? Are human and animal societies that much different? Do we already live in an age of cyborgs?

E.O. Wilson and Katherine Hayles visit Indianapolis as part of the new IAHI Entanglements Lecture Series.  Entanglements brings together scientists, humanists, and artists to discuss “big questions” that affect all of us.

At our inaugural event, E.O. Wilson, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning biologist, will join Katherine Hayles, specialist in the culture of cyborgs and virtual bodies, in a conversation that will take us on a journey to answer one of humanity’s most fundamental questions: “What makes us human?”

Over the course of this evening, Wilson and Hayles will discuss the evolution of human consciousness, the relationship between biology, society, culture, and technology, and the future of humanity.  This will be an event that changes the way you think about yourself and your world.

EO WilsonDr. E.O. Wilson is Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology at Harvard University.  He is a two time Pulitzer Prize winner, a National Medal of Science awardee, a Crafoord Prize recipient (given by the Academy in fields of science it does not cover by the Nobel Prize), and a TED Prize Winner.  In fact, he has received over 100 awards throughout his career. He is the author of numerous books, including Sociobiology, The Ants, The Diversity of Life, Consilience, The Social Conquest of Earth, and Letters to a Young Scientist.  During his career he has explored the biggest questions through the littlest creatures — ants. He is a prominent environmental advocate, and in March 2014, the government of Mozambique opened the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory in Gorongosa National Park — a tribute to Wilson’s worldwide impact.

Katherine HaylesDr. Katherine Hayles is Professor of Literature at Duke University.  Her book, How We Became Posthuman, published in 1999, was named one of the best 25 books of 1999 by The Village Voice and received the Rene Wellek Prize for Best Book in Literary Theory.  She is the author of multiple books, including The Cosmic Web, Chaos Bound, Writing Machines, How We Think, and My Mother Was a Computer.  A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEH Fellowships, a Rockefeller Residential Fellowship, and a National Humanities Center Fellowship, Dr. Hayles  is a leading social and literary critic with interests in cyborg anthropology, digital humanities, electronic literature, science and technology, science fiction, and critical theory.

The Entanglements Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support of the Efroymson Family Fund, the IU School of Dentistry, and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

This event is a collaboration between the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, Indiana Humanities, and the Spirit and Place Festival.

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Notre Dame historian and professor to discuss ‘The Bible Then and Now’ in public talk

INDIANAPOLIS — Noted historian and National Endowment for the Humanities medal recipient Mark Noll will deliver a public talk Thursday, Aug. 7, as part of the IUPUI Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture’s The Bible and American Life Conference.

Noll will present “The Bible Then and Now” at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 125 Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. Registration is not required for this keynote talk, which is open to the entire Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus as well as the general public.

Noll is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. His numerous books include “The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith” (InterVarsity Press, 2009); “God and Race in American Politics: A Short History” (Princeton University Press, 2008); and “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis” (University of North Carolina Press, 2006). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; in 2006 he received the National Endowment for the Humanities medal at a White House ceremony.

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture is part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The Bible and American Life Conference, taking place Wednesday through Friday at Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre, is the second stage of a project that seeks to provide the first large-scale investigation of the Bible in American life.

Earlier this year, the center released the first part of the project: a report based on a national survey of American Bible reading. Among its many findings, the study discovered:

•    There is a 50/50 split among Americans who read any form of scripture in the past year and those who did not.

•    Among those who read any form of scripture in the past year, 95 percent named the Bible as the scripture they read.

•    Despite the proliferation of Bible translations, the King James Version is the top choice — and by a wide margin — of Bible readers.

•    The strongest correlation with Bible reading is race, with African Americans reading the Bible at considerably higher rates than others.

•    Bible readers consult scripture for personal prayer and devotion three times more to learn about culture war issues such as abortion, homosexuality, war or poverty.
A conference schedule and registration information are available online.

Going Global 2015 Theme Announced

UntitledGoing Global 2015 takes place on 1 and 2 June 2015 at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London, UK. The theme for the conference is “Connecting cultures: forging futures” with exploration into the fusion of diverse cultures; how networks of innovation evolve and grow; and what role universities and other tertiary institutions play globally in connecting diverse cultures and in anchoring and sustaining networks of innovation to produce a tangible return and measurable impact for the future. This theme will be explored through three perspectives:

  • National, regional and local cultures and the extent to which connecting people and ideas across these produces innovation and impact
  • Academic discipline and subject cultures including the impact of multi-disciplinary teams of sciences, arts, social sciences etc. Also different cultures of research, teaching and skills development
  • Organizational cultures – particularly those of universities and business; skills providers; NGOs; social and other enterprises.

Proposals can be submitted for paper or poster presentations or to facilitate a session. The call for proposals will open on August 27, 2014 and guidelines for submission are available on the British Council’s website. The session and chair call for proposals will close on Friday 31 October 2014, you have until early 2015 to submit a poster proposal.

Key dates

  • Call for proposals opens: Wednesday 27 August 2014
  • Registration opens: February 2015
  • Going Global 2015 conference: Monday 1 and Tuesday 2 June 2015

Women’s Fund of Central Indiana NEXT Initiative

wf_logo-color_bugThe Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, an endowed special interest fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation, provides grants, philanthropic engagement, and education of current and potential donors to benefit the lives of women and girls.

Women’s Fund of Central Indiana has created The NEXT Initiative, a ten-year commitment to help emerging adult women (ages 18-24) move from economic instability to economic stability, to encourage local entrepreneurs to find viable solutions to help these vulnerable young women become strong independent women who are not dependent on the goodwill of other for their success. This is a one-time only opportunity. Anyone interested in applying to be an entrepreneur with NEXT initiative, needs to act now.

To be considered for the project, entrepreneurs should have touched or experienced this community of young adult women in a unique way such as having worked with this population, seen the results of these women not being served, or been a part of the NEXT population at one point in time. Entrepreneurs should be innovative, bold, determined, respected, creative and thoughtful and able to collaborate well in order to build successful solutions and effective ways to measure and evaluate their success. Potential entrepreneurs also need to be willing to spend significant time in Indianapolis developing and implementing solutions, becoming knowledgeable about our community, creating relationships, forming partnerships and ensuring their idea is appropriate for our community.

To apply begin by completing a Statement of Intent and submit beginning September 2, 2014 and December 2, 2014 at 12p EDT. Project proposals should meet the following parameters:

  • Participants will be a clearly identifiable population (within the 18-24 year old female population)
  • An intensive holistic approach for working with the population
  • Measurable outcomes including: women becoming economically secure and prepared for future success
  • Systemic evaluation of the initiative from the start
  • The ability to replicate the project with other populations within this age group.

2-3 entrepreneurs will be selected in the inaugural round. Each will receive a $90,000 annual salary plus full benefits (as an employee of the Central Indiana Community Foundation) for 1-2 years. If a not-for-profit is chosen, a grant will be made in an amount commensurate with the individual awards. Women’s Fund will provide additional funding for expenses, corresponding with the approved budget of the entrepreneur/s. The first stage of this project is an incubator period for selected social services entrepreneurs to begin developing solutions to meet the needs of this population in Central Indiana- Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan, and Shelby counties. For the selected entrepreneurs, this is a period of 1-2 years spent developing solutions for the NEXT population. Once the solutions are ready to launch, Women’s Fund will fund the solution to the end of ten years.

Timeline:

  • Statements of intent are due September 2, 2014 at noon Eastern Standard Time
  • Notification of decisions in December 2014
  • Full proposals from invited applicants will be due in March 2015
  • Select applicants will be interviewed in Summer 2015
  • Applicants will be notified of decisions in September 2015
  • Chosen entrepreneurs will be expected to begin January 2016

For more information visit the NEXT Initiative page

Students to Dive in For Better English

UntitledINDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Thirty-five undergraduate students from two Japanese institutions are coming to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis this summer to improve their English-language skills while learning more about U.S. culture.

The students will immerse themselves in English-only classes and extracurricular activities offered and organized by the International Center for Intercultural Communication, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. And when each school day ends, they will go “home” to the English-speaking Hoosier families serving as their summer hosts.

Twenty-two Tsuda College students will arrive Saturday to participate in what is now known as the annual Women in Leadership Intensive Summer English Program. Two weeks after the Tsuda students finish Aug. 22, the center will host 13 students from Hakuoh University, a co-ed institution.
The Hakuoh Intensive Summer English Program runs Sept. 3 to 15.

For students of Tsuda College — started 100 years ago as Japan’s first college for women — their three-week intensive English-language immersion course is the latest chapter in a 20-year tradition that IUPUI will mark with a special celebration Aug. 21.

“It’s really been magnificent,” International Center for Intercultural Communication director and Chancellor’s Professor of English Ulla M. Connor said of the program that started after a chance encounter between Connor and Tsuda English professor Mary Althaus, now vice president of the Japanese college.

Twenty years ago, when Althaus suggested the ICIC-Tsuda partnership, most Japanese schools focused on exchange programs with universities either in California or on the East Coast. IUPUI is one of only three exchange programs for Tsuda students, and the only U.S. university that offers them a summer intensive English program, Connor said. About 25 students have attended the IUPUI program each year, and the school has never had difficulty recruiting students to attend.

At the request of the Japanese college, women in leadership has been the program’s focus in the past five or so years, Connor said. The Tsuda students use a mainstream book on female leaders, selected readings and academic activities specifically chosen for their inclusion of content on distinguished female leaders and their focus on developing communication skills for women in leadership roles. The class also includes guest lectures by prominent local women such as retired Eli Lilly and Co. human resources professional Joann Ingulli-Fattic and Girls Inc. director of research Catherine Cushinberry.

Althaus and members of the Japan-America Society of Indiana are scheduled to attend the Tsuda anniversary celebration. IUPUI administrators scheduled to attend include Chancellor Charles R. Bantz, School of Liberal Arts Dean Bill Blomquist and IU Associate Vice President of International Affairs Gil Latz.

This summer will mark the sixth year for the International Center for Intercultural Communication’s program for Hakuoh University. This year’s edition revolves around five U.S. culture themes that college students can relate to, such as sports and city life in the U.S. The ICIC-Hakuoh program has been the more traditional two-way exchange program.

“For students who have an interest in Japanese, studying abroad is an invaluable experience,” said Laura Woods, an IUPUI student who spent a year at Hakuoh, earning enough credits for an individualized major in Japanese. “I recommend Hakuoh University as a good place to experience Japanese college life.

“During the year that I studied at Hakuoh University, I was able to significantly improve in my Japanese language ability; and because the classes are conducted completely in Japanese, I was able to learn more quickly than I could in America,” said Woods, who is featured in a promotional spotlight on the Hakuoh University website.

Davis continues ‘telling stories’ in new novel with a twist to an old theme

unnamedINDIANAPOLIS — Thomas J. Davis’ third and latest novel brings something new to the age-old tale of a man selling his soul to the devil.

In The Devil Likes to Sing (Cascade Books), Davis, professor of religious studies and associate dean for academic programs in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, tells the story of Timothy McFarland, a failed theology student who begins writing fiction. Feeling he’s a hack, McFarland strikes a deal with Lucifer, who offers to shape him into a success.

“The book is a look at self-identity,” Davis said. “How we think of ourselves, who we are, whether or not we accept ourselves. Within all of us we have these self-doubts, thinking there is a way to change who we are that will make us more acceptable to others.”

Struggling with self-identity and self-doubt often opens protagonists up to searching for change.

“That’s where the notion of temptation comes in—at what price is one willing to make changes . . .” Davis said. “Once you hit the notion of temptation—especially for me, because I’ve spent my scholarly life studying the history of Christianity—the devil becomes an interesting tool by which to explore temptation because the devil as an image has the benefit of representing both an external force as well as something deeper, an internal struggle.”

Bringing something new to the age-old concept of the deal with the devil story was the author’s challenge. How could his devil differ from interpretations such as Milton’s Paradise Lost, the German myth of Faust, contemporary portrayals such as Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, and even Saturday Night Live?

Davis’ solution is a devil who can be funny, witty and enjoy sublime Anglican church music as well as American rock and roll.

“The character needed balance—a balance of lightheartedness and darkness, gravitas and humor, familiarity and distance, friendship and contempt,” Davis said. “That was the hardest thing to maintain while writing the devil. He had to appear almost friendly, almost helpful, almost fun while currents of evil still ran beneath him. That had to leak out around the edges, but not too much.”

The Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor wanted to be a storyteller long before his first foray into fiction, but he focused instead on his education and academic career. The professor’s jump into novel writing was eventually triggered by boyhood memories of stories told by his father.

“My father was grieving about the disappearance of a way of life in the north Georgia mountains that he had known as a boy,” Davis says. “He would tell stories about when he was a kid, and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to capture my father’s sense of wonder in a novel and write about north Georgia through his perspective.’”

That exercise grew into his first novel, The Christmas Quilt (Rutledge Hill Press), a story about a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother’s final months of life. The book earned a Reader’s Choice award and was a selection in the Doubleday Book Club. “That book came from my need to pay homage to my ancestry,” Davis said.

Storytelling also plays a role in his classroom. “Much of what I teach is the history of Christianity, and it tends to be very narrative driven—I tell a lot of stories in class,” Davis said. “I’ve noticed that students tend to be drawn in with a good story.”

In Davis’ new novel, the devil also takes the storytelling approach, only he twists religious history to suit his needs. Davis warns that the epigraphs that open the book—selections from Milton, Blake, and the New Testament on the nature of the devil—are important for the reader. The book also ends with a warning that readers shouldn’t take the devil’s word on matters of Christian faith and practices at face value.

“He is, after all, somewhat biased,” Davis said.