Jessica DeCou

(Theology) “Parables of Freedom: Toward a Barthian Pneumatology of Culture for Engaging Popular Culture in the 21st Century”

As a Marty Fellow, I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about the diverse research interests of my fellow students and to confront questions concerning the broader relevance and intelligibility of my own work. The dynamic, interdisciplinary context of the Marty Seminar facilitates the lively debates and critical reflection that are essential to the growth of any scholar, and I believe such an environment is especially fruitful for theological work. Writing on theology and popular culture and the importance of producing theological analyses that are more relevant to contemporary culture, a central goal of my dissertation is to empower theologians to make stronger contributions to the institutions and cultural environments in which we work. The challenge that theologians of popular culture face is not only that of communicating ideas to other academic disciplines that study popular culture, but also communicating those ideas to the wider public – i.e. the consumers and producers of popular cultural forms. By participating in the Marty fellowship program, I will discover whether I can go beyond just talking the talk – a challenge crucial to one’s development as a scholar, a colleague, and a citizen. I am very grateful for this exciting opportunity.