Dr. Christopher Douglas

Dr. Christopher Douglas

On Leave

Office: CLE C322

BA (UBC), MA and PhD (Toronto)

Area of expertise

Literature and Religion; Bible as Literature; Contemporary American Fiction


Christopher Douglas teaches literature and religion, the Bible as Literature, and contemporary American fiction.

Dr. Douglas's primary research interests include the contemporary religious imagination in American literature. His current research is on the problems of suffering and evil in contemporary American novels – both serious literary fiction and evangelical fiction. He uses historical Bible scholarship to understand the ways that ancient genres and divine characters shape contemporary fiction and politics. This project is supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant.

Recent publications include “Evangelical Literary Tradition and Moral Foundations Theory, “Revenge Is a Genre Best Served Old: Apocalypse in Christian Right Literature and Politics” and “This Is The Shack That Job Built: Theodicy and Polytheism in William Paul Young’s Evangelical Bestseller.” He has guest-edited special issues of Christianity & Literature on “Literature of / about the Christian Right” and of Post-45 on “W(h)ither the Christian Right?

His most recent work on Marilynne Robinson includes “Christian White Supremacy in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead novels” and “What If God is a ‘Pagan Amalgam’: Marilynne Robinson and Historical Bible Scholarship.”

His latest book, If God Meant to Interfere: American Literature and the Rise of the Christian Right, shows how American writers struggled to understand and respond to the unexpected emergence of the Christian Right in the United States. Literary writers responding to the resurgence were sometimes confused by the Christian Right's strange entanglement with the contemporary paradigms of multiculturalism and postmodernism — leading to complex emergent phenomena that Douglas terms "Christian Multiculturalism" and “Christian Postmodernism.” This project was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Standard Research Grant.

He regularly teaches English 232, 233, 386, and 481

Find/follow Chris: twitter


Selected Faculty Publications

Evangelical Literary Tradition and Moral Foundations Theory.” Journal of American Culture 47 (2024)

What If God is a ‘Pagan Amalgam’: Marilynne Robinson and Historical Bible Scholarship.” Literature and Theology 37: 2 (June 2023)

W(h)ither the Christian Right?” Special issue of Post45 Contemporaries. September 2022. With Matthew Mullins.

“Silence: Kidnapping, Abuse, and Murder in Early Twenty First Century White Evangelical Fiction.” Literature and Religious Experience. Bloomsbury, 2022.

Revenge Is a Genre Best Served Old: Apocalypse in Christian Right Literature and Politics.” Religions 2022

Christian White Supremacy in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead novels.” Christianity & Literature. Volume 71, Number 2, June 2022

“Public Scholarship in the Age of the Christian Right.” Literary Criticism as Public Scholarship. Amherst College Press, 2021

This Is The Shack That Job Built: Theodicy and Polytheism in William Paul Young’s Evangelical Bestseller

Journal of the American Academy of Religion (4 May 2020)

Introduction to Literature of / about the Christian Right.

Christianity & Literature Volume 69, Number 1 (March 2020): 1-14.

What Is Christian Postmodernism?

Tijdschriftframe 32:1 (June 2019)

David Foster Wallace's Evangelicals: The Other Postsecularism.”

Christianity & Literature 67:3 (May 2018): 548–558.

Religion and Fake News: Faith-Based Alternative Information Ecosystems in the US and Europe.”

The Review of Faith & International Affairs (Mar 2018): 61-73.

"If God Meant to Interfere: American Literature and the Rise of the Christian Right."

Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016
The rise of the Christian Right took many writers and literary critics by surprise, trained as we were to think that religions waned as societies became modern. In If God Meant to Interfere, Christopher Douglas shows that American writers struggled to understand and respond to this new social and political force. Religiously inflected literature since the 1970s must be understood in the context of this unforeseen resurgence of conservative Christianity, he argues, a resurgence that realigned the literary and cultural fields. Among the writers Douglas considers are Marilynne Robinson, Barbara Kingsolver, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Ishmael Reed, N. Scott Momaday, Gloria Anzaldúa, Philip Roth, Carl Sagan, and Dan Brown. Their fictions engaged a wide range of topics: religious conspiracies, faith and wonder, slavery and imperialism, evolution and extraterrestrial contact, alternate histories and ancestral spiritualities. Ultimately, If God Meant to Interfere shows the value of listening to our literature for its sometimes subterranean attention to the religious and social upheavals going on around it.

'If God Meant to Interfere': Evolution and Theodicy in Blood Meridian."

In Religion & Literature 45:2 (Summer 2013; published Fall 2014): 83 - 107
"The Poisonwood Bible's Multicultural Graft: American Literature during the Contemporary Christian Resurgence."

American Literary History 26:1 (Spring 2014): 132-153.
"'Something That Has Already Happened': Recapitulation and Religious Indifference in The Plot Against America."

Modern Fiction Studies 59.4 (Winter 2013): 784-810.
"Christian Multiculturalism and Unlearned History in Marilynne Robinson's Gilead."

Novel 44: 3 (Fall 2011): 333-353.
"Gaps and Margins: Sociology and Assimilation in Jade Snow Wong and John Okada."

Chapter 43 of Asian American Literature, vol. 2. Edited by David Leiwei Li. Routledge, 2012.
A Genealogy of Literary Multiculturalism

Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2009
American Library Association 2009 Outstanding Academic Title
The first 'unified field theory' of multicultural literature, A Genealogy of Literary Multiculturalism is a literary history of how we arrived at our current paradigm of writing, reading and teaching multicultural literature in the United States. It hypothesizes a three-phase development for multicultural literature from the 1920s to the 1980s, uncovering the largely unacknowledged role that social science ideas played in nourishing the politics and forms of the most canonical writers in the African American, Asian American, Mexican American and Native American traditions. A Genealogy of Literary Multiculturalism challenges the critical consensuses on the four traditions that treat each in terms of separate histories, a critical practice that has obscured the parallel phases of each tradition and the common cultural politics that generated multiculturalism's rupture with the non-pluralist literary politics that came before it.
Reciting America: Culture and Cliche in Contemporary U.S. Fiction

Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001

"What The Bluest Eye Knows About Them: Culture, Race, Identity."

American Literature 78: 1 (March 2006): 141-168. Reprinted in Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations. Ed. Harold Bloom. Updated edition. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2007. 209-232.
"Reading Ethnography: the Cold War Social Science of Jade Snow Wong's Fifth Chinese Daughter and Brown v. Board of Education."

Form and Transformation in Asian American Literature. Ed. Zhou Xiaojing and Samina Najmi. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2005. 101-124.

Public Scholarship

Evangelical bestsellers reveal diverse — and sometimes dangerous — ideas about morality.” The Conversation. March 17, 2024.

Still Left Behind: What The Endurance Of The Left Behind Cinematic Universe Can Tell Us About Conservative Moral Psychology.” Feb 23, 2023. Religion Dispatches.

Republicans draw from apocalyptic narratives to inform ‘Demoncrat’ conspiracy theories.” Jan 4, 2022. The Conversation.

Apocalypse Now and Then: How a Biblical Genre Shapes American Politics.” July 6, 2021. Religion Dispatches.

Popular Christian novel ‘The Shack’ finds a surprising solution to the problem of evil: Polytheism.” May 14, 2020. The Conversation.

What Fundamentalist Christian Fiction Can Teach Us About Our American Crisis.” April 2, 2020. Religion Dispatches

"Darwin’s Sacred Song: Dan Brown’s brother wrote a sacred mass about Charles Darwin."​  January 11, 2019. Marginalia. 

Can Christians Lie?” June 29, 2018. Religion Dispatches / Rewire.News.

David Foster Wallace’s Evangelicals: The Other Postsecularism.” Christianity & Literature 67.3 (June 2018).

Why Has the Critique of Hypocrisy Run Out of Steam?” May 14, 2018. Religion Dispatches.

The Unfilmable ‘Blood Meridian’.” March 11, 2018. The Conversation.

Religion and Fake News: Faith-based Alternative Information Ecosystems in the U.S. and Europe.” Feb 21, 2018. Cambridge Institute on Religion & International Studies.

‘Contact’ and Carl Sagan’s Faith.” November 10, 2017. The Conversation.

You’ve Been Warned: Reading Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America in the Trump Era” September 18, 2017. Religion Dispatches.

How America Really Lost Its Mind: Hint, It Wasn’t Entirely the Fault of Hippie New Agers and Postmodern Academics” August 9, 2017. Religion Dispatches.

“Why America’s Handmaid’s Tale Doesn’t Look Like Hulu’s” June 15, 2017. Religion Dispatches.

“Why Hulu’s ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ May Be the Wrong Adaptation for Trump Era.” April 25, 2017. Religion Dispatches.

“Job on the Big Screen: How The Shack Rewrote Scripture.” March 17 2017. Marginalia.

“The Religious Origins of Fake News and ‘Alternative Facts’.” February 23, 2017. Religion Dispatches.

“The Literary Politics of the Christian Left.” August 29, 2016. Marginalia.

“An Untold Tale: American Fiction Vs. the Religious Right.” June 8, 2016. Religion Dispatches.