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Congratulations to Dr. Nathan Fleeson

Dr. Nathan Fleeson

Congratulations to Nathan Fleeson who completed his PhD under the supervision of Professor Carolyn Medine in Spring 2023.

Nathan’s program of study was in the area of Arts, Literature, and Religion, completing coursework related to how art and literature reflect religious ideas, such as ethics, community-building, and personal meaning-making. To that end, his dissertation, To Cuiviénen There is No Return: English and American Fantasy Literature as a Second Hagiography, explored how fans religiously relate to fantasy literature in ways that mirror the Christian Cult of the Saints. His work was especially interested in how fans exercise a religious imagination to form relationships with fantasy characters, finding in that bond both connections with other fans and a personal affirmation that their stories matter. An abridged chapter from that dissertation was recently published through advance access in the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.

Nathan’s passion for researching religion and fantasy literature extended beyond his dissertation work. As part of his departmental assistantship, Nathan taught courses on Percy Jackson and Religion and the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien. Outside the Department of Religion, he also curated exhibits on monsters, theology, and fandom with both Emory University’s Pitts Theology Library and UGA’s Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Throughout these experiences, Nathan emphasized the power of stories to express purpose and find healing together.

Further information about Dr. Fleeson can be found at his professional website.



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