English, Department of


Date of this Version



College English, Volume 68, Number 3, January 2006


recent Chronicle of Higher Education column, Stanley Fish describes a phone call he received after the death of Jacques Derrida from a reporter who was curious as to what would succeed high theory as the "center of energy in the academy." "I answered like a shot," Fish writes, "religion" (1). For many, Fish's prophecy might create a feeling of uneasiness; after all, in academic culture, religious ideologies are often considered hindrances to-not vehicles for-critical thought. This feeling may be especially true in regard to Christianity, which is often conflated with conservative politics and fundamentalism both in and outside of the academy. But those of us who espouse critical pedagogy and embrace Paulo Freire's visions of praxis and conscientization work out of a tradition, often unknowingly, with deep ties to religious faith.