VanLaningham to Discuss New Book on March 8

Erin VanLaningham, PhD, professor of English, will give a talk on her new book, Cultivating Vocation in Literary Studies, on March 8 at 7 pm on the 3rd floor of the Miller Academic Resource Center. 

This volume addresses the important role that literary studies can and should play in that conversation. With attention to the forms, voices and praxis of the discipline, and informed by the public humanities, these thirteen chapters address critical questions for cultivating vocation in students: How might the varied fields within literary studies invite students to consider meaning and purpose? How might our pedagogies and theories of interpretation inform the direction of their lives? 

The chapters offer readers a new language and framework for reinvigorating literary studies as a productive means to answer life’s most significant questions, while also modeling how vocational exploration can be incorporated into multiple disciplines and contexts. 

The volume as a whole positions literary studies as vital to the conversation about value, civic engagement, and purpose as it shapes not only the lives of students but also the future of higher education.

VanLaningham earned a bachelor’s degree from Luther College, an MA from Northeastern University, and a PhD from Saint Louis University. Her research explores the intersection between art and literature, and her most recent article, “Purpose, Meaning and Exploring Vocation in Honors Education,” appeared in the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council.

While at Loras College, she received the campus Budde Teaching Excellence Award (2019), was a faculty fellow at Collegium: A Colloquy on Faith and Intellectual Life through the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (2016), and was presented with the Emerging Innovation Award (2016) for excellence in higher education civic engagement by Iowa Campus Compact.