Readers Meet the Author highlights faculty research, encourages discussion

Dr. João Chaves is holding an open conversation on his book, “Migrational Religion: Context and Creativity in the Latinx Diaspora,” on Nov. 8. Photo courtesy of Baylor University

By Tyler White | Staff Writer

Readers Meet the Author, a series highlighting the prolific work of Baylor faculty and staff, will hold two sessions this semester. These sessions will feature discussions from Dr. João Chaves and Dr. Greg Garrett about their respective works.

The series, which is hosted by University Libraries, is presented by the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost. It gives the Baylor community the opportunity to hear about their works and engage in conversations about the topics.

Dr. João Chaves, assistant professor in the department of religion, is one of the featured authors for his work entitled “Migrational Religion: Context and Creativity in the Latinx Diaspora.” He said his work focuses on how experiences of migration impact the theological imagination and communal strategies of immigrant religious networks.

“The question that I am chasing there is, more generally, how does the dynamic of migration itself affect the theological imagination of immigrants who are in faith communities?” Chaves said.

Chaves said the series provides a great opportunity to highlight a variety of perspectives and expertise on varying topics. He said it allows for fruitful conversations with people who have been researching these topics for years.

“I think the series not only is important to … highlight the importance of the work of scholars at Baylor coming from different perspectives, but also, these are opportunities to enter conversation on topics that, although might have a historical methodology or theological methodology, they deal with very important current themes in significant ways,” Chaves said.

Dr. Greg Garrett, the Carole Ann McDaniel Hanks chair of literature and culture, is a featured author for his fictional work entitled “Bastille Day.” He said his book focuses on the idea of wrestling with the past and dealing with fear and loss while still holding onto hope.

“What I hope people would carry away from this book is the idea that however challenging things are in our present circumstances … hope is the place where we’re supposed to wind up — because if I’m called to live in this world, I’ve got to feel like hope and grace and love are the defining things that carry us,” Garrett said.

Garrett said Readers Meet the Author allows faculty and staff to share their works with the Baylor community and alerts them to the prolific writing taking place across campus. Additionally, he said it’s a great encouragement to featured authors, who receive universitywide support through the series.

“We teach our classes, and I hope we teach them well, but when we go out into the larger world with books or speaking or whatever it is we do, it’s really nice to feel like we have the support of our Baylor administration behind us,” Garrett said.

Garrett said it’s great to see how many people are writing their own works with the same foundational values that come from working at Baylor.

“I think one of the things that might be powerful for people is just simply the idea that there are people not only doing scholarship and research, but also creating things out of their faith that they want to put into the larger world,” Garrett said.

The first session this semester will be held on Oct. 12 and will highlight Garrett’s novel, while the second session will be held on Nov. 8 and will highlight Chaves’ work. Both will be in person at the Schumacher Flex Commons in Moody-Memorial Library or online via Zoom.