Ray Horton


Ray Horton

Ray Horton


"In overlooking, denying, evading [this] complexity — which is nothing more than the disquieting complexity of ourselves — we are diminished and we perish; only within this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger, danger, darkness, can we find at once ourselves and the power that will free us from ourselves. It is this power of revelation which is the business of the novelist, this journey toward a more vast reality which must take precedence over all other claims." - James Baldwin

Learn more about Ray Horton


  • Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University
  • M.A., Case Western Reserve University
  • B.A., Mercyhurst University

Highlighted Publications

Book Manuscripts:

  • American Fiction’s Secular Faith (In Progress)
  • Bad Faith in American Fiction (In Progress)

Peer-Reviewed Articles:

  • Seeing in ‘the darkness, visible’:  White Supremacy and Original Sin in Marilynne Robinson’sJack.” Christianity & Literature, vol. 71, no. 2, 2022, pp. 223-43.
  • “Children of the Culture Wars: Secularism, Aesthetics, and Judgments of Value in Zadie Smith’s On Beauty.” LIT: Literature, Interpretation, Theory, vol. 32, no. 1, 2021, pp. 41-58.
  • “Is there a Context for Gilead? Reading The Handmaid’s Tale and Lila under the Christian Right.” Christianity & Literature, vol. 69, no. 1, 2020, pp. 15-35.
  • “‘Rituals of the ordinary’: Marilynne Robinson’s Aesthetics of Belief and Finitude.” PMLA, vol. 132, no. 1, 2017, pp. 119-34.

Encyclopedia Entries and Bibliographies:

  • “Religion and Contemporary Fiction.” Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Fiction, 1980-2020. Wiley-Blackwell, 2022. (5,000-word entry)
  • “Robinson, Marilynne.” Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts. Ed. Timothy Beal. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2016. Oxford Reference. (3,000-word entry)
  • “Marilynne Robinson.” Oxford Bibliographies in American Literature.” Oxford: Oxford UP, 2022. Oxford Bibliographies. Eds. Jackson R. Bryer, Richard Kopley, and Paul Lauter. (In Progress.)

Reviews and Commentary:

  • “The Praise Band to English Professor Pipeline.” Post45 Contemporaries. Forthcoming in special issue titled “W(h)ither the Christian Right?” edited by Christopher Douglas and Matthew Mullins. (4,000-word essay)
  • Review of Faith in Exposure: Privacy and Secularism in the Nineteeth-Century United States by Justine S. Murison, Univeristy of Pennsylvania Press, 2023. Early American Literature. (Forthcoming).

Courses Taught

Areas of Specialization

  • American Literature
  • Literature and Religion
  • Secularization Theory
  • Contemporary Fiction

Awards and Distinctions

  • "College Teacher of the Year," Kentucky Council of Teachers of English (2023)
  • Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Award, Murray State University (2022)
  • Graduate Dean's Instructional Excellence Award, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), 2017
  • Adrian-Salomon Dissertation Fellowship, CWRU, 2016-17
  • College of Arts & Sciences Dissertation Fellowship, CWRU, 2016
  • Dean's Fellowship, CWRU English Department, 2014-17

Leadership and Service

  • Co-Coordinator, Undergraduate Literature, Murray State (2018-present)
  • American Religion and Literature Society: President (2016-2019), Treasurer (2019-2022)
  • Vice President: Gender Equity Caucus (2022-Present)
  • Faculty Senator (2023-24)

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