The Baylor Centennial Professor award is funded by the Centennial Class of 1945 and supports faculty development. Each year, a Baylor tenured faculty member is designated as the Centennial Professor and is provided with funds for a project that will aid in developing of his or her ability to function as a university professor and contribute to academic life.
Garrett has taught at Baylor since 1989, and will use the $5,000 that accompanies the award to further work on a book titled Entertaining Judgment: The Afterlife in Literature and Culture, his first book for Oxford University Press.
“I want to express my gratitude to the 1945 Centennial Class for their support of Baylor faculty, and for this personal honor, which has been granted to friends and colleagues who are among Baylor’s most prolific writers and finest teachers,” Garrett said. “I am humbled to join their company.”
Garrett said his new book will examine our views of the afterlife over time.
“I write often about the intersection between religion and culture, and particularly about how we make meaning — religious, philosophical and emotional — from the things we read and the films, music and other cultural artifacts we enjoy,” he said. “In this project I’m exploring how literature and culture from Milton and Dante to the present have shaped the ways we think about what happens to us after we die — and how that perception shapes the way we live and believe.”
Garrett added that the award money will enable him to further his research efforts abroad.
“With the help of the Centennial Award, I’ll be traveling and working in the United Kingdom, especially at Gladstone’s Library in Wales, a great research institution where I hold the role of Residential Scholar,” Garrett said. “I’ll also be traveling to talk about my project this year with scholars in England, Scotland and Wales, with their students, and with the British media. The award will help underwrite a speaking tour this fall that will take me to Kings College in London and to Cambridge.”
“I’m personally grateful for the Centennial Award for its support of my learning and writing that will lead to a book and to speaking and media appearances, but I’ll also be channeling what I learn back into the classroom and into conversations with my own colleagues, so I hope the larger Baylor community will benefit in many ways,” he said.
Garrett teaches classes in creative writing, literature, film and theology in the Baylor English department and George W. Truett Theological Seminary. His advanced degrees include a PhD in English from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Divinity from the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest. He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books of fiction, nonfiction and memoir, and of 75 short stories, essays and scholarly articles.
He has two novels forthcoming (including one with Brennan Manning), and his next nonfiction book will be published by Oxford University Press in fall 2014.
PHOTO CREDIT: Baylor Marketing & Communications