Dr. Robert Erle Barham Joins Faculty
Dr. Robert Erle Barham has joined Covenant’s faculty as an assistant professor of English. Dr. Barham taught as an instructor at the University of North Carolina while completing his Ph.D. He has also taught at Belmont University and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
In addition to his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Dr. Barham holds a master of philosophy degree, focusing on medieval and Renaissance literature, from the University of Cambridge-Queen’s College. He also earned a master of arts from the University of Virginia, and a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University. His Ph.D. studies were centered on English Renaissance literature.
“I focused on the literature and culture of England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,” says Dr. Barham, “everybody from Thomas Moore all the way to John Milton. Beyond that, I addressed how English culture recovers classical materials, specifically with regard to rhetorical training and education.”
In discussing his decision to come to Covenant, Dr. Barham cites the alumni and the liberal arts core curriculum. “Every Covenant grad that I knew was a remarkably thoughtful and engaged believer,” he says. “I thought: what an amazing place that produces these graduates.”
Dr. Barham sees the integration of disciplines as key to understanding Renaissance literature. “I thought how wonderful it would be to teach in a place with a liberal arts core,” he says. “You have to take theology seriously to understand the art and the politics of the Renaissance era. Not just theology but soteriology, eschatology, and ecclesiology, because some of the most important debates of the era centered on those areas. I got excited about Renaissance lit because Christian theology is so integral to understanding the period. In some ways Christian students have the benefit of being able to understand the period from the inside.”
Dr. Barham will teach “Cultural Heritage of the West” this fall, among other courses. “A history of some of the most important ideas in Western culture is really exciting,” he says. “I’m going to love reading through the writers and thinkers and artists from the Greeks through the Reformation, and hopefully the students will as well. The hope is that I can give students some intellectual equipment to make sense of their twenty-first century lives and commitments.”