Carissa Turner Smith

Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center
Norris Hall
P843-863-7773 /


English, Wheaton College (BA)
English, Penn State University (MA)
English, Penn State University (PhD)

Carissa Smith Headshot

Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Dr. Carissa Turner Smith is a Professor of English and director of the Writing Center at CSU. Her training and primary teaching is in American literature, but she loves researching and writing about a variety of topics, including Christianity and literature, African-American literature, women and literature, children’s and YA literature, J.R.R. Tolkien, Herman Melville, Charles Chesnutt, cyborgs, time travel, and comics. She serves as vice president of the Conference on Christianity and Literature and Arts and Humanities associate editor for Christian Scholar’s Review. She is the author of Cyborg Saints: Religion and Posthumanism in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction (Routledge, 2019). She loves hearing students’ stories and helping them find their place at CSU and beyond.

Cyborg Saints: Religion and Posthumanism in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction (September 2019, Routledge)

Journal Articles
“‘We are none of us just one thing’: The Intersectionality and Intersubjectivity of Rachel Hartman’s Half-Dragon Saints.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, vol. 36, no. 2, 2017, pp. 401-422.
“Relics and Intersubjectivity in the Harry Potter Series and The Castle Behind Thorns.” Literature and Theology, vol. 30, no. 2, 2016, pp. 215-232.
“D. J. Waldie’s Holy Land: Redeeming the Spiritual Geography of Suburbia.” Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature, vol. 63, no. 4, 2011, pp. 307-324.
“‘Placing’ the Spiritual Metaphors of Contemporary Women Writers: Sue Monk Kidd and Kathleen Norris.” Literature and Belief, vol. 27, no. 2, 2008, pp. 1-28.
“Women’s Spiritual Geographies of the African Diaspora: Paule Marshall’s Praisesong for the Widow.” African American Review, vol. 42, no. 3-4, 2008, pp. 715-729.

Essays in Edited Collections
“Postsecular Cosplay, Fundamentalism, and Martyrdom in Gene Luen Yang’s Boxers & Saints.” Teens and the New Religious Landscape: Essays on Contemporary Young Adult Fiction, edited by Jacob Stratman, McFarland, 2018.
“Reading in the Dark: The Unheimlich Underworld of Merrie Haskell’s The Princess Curse.” The Gothic Fairy Tale in Young Adult Literature: Essays on Stories from Grimm to Gaiman, edited by Tanya Jones and Joseph Abbruscato, McFarland, 2014, pp. 181-200.
“Embodying the Postmetropolis in Catherine Fisher’s Incarceron and Sapphique.” Brave New Teenagers: Dystopian Young Adult Fiction, edited by Balaka Basu, Katherine R. Broad, and Carrie Hintz, Children’s Literature and Culture Series, Routledge, 2013, pp. 51-65.

Recent Conference Presentations
“Arcadia, the App: Memory, Re-reading, and the Codex”
Southeast Conference on Christianity and Literature, Summer 2019
“Can These Dry Stones Live? Relics and Fossils in Melville’s Clarel”
Conference on Christianity and Literature, Harvard Divinity School, Spring 2019
“The Time Travel of Liturgy in Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book”
Southeast Conference on Christianity and Literature, Union University, Spring 2018
“Holy Dog!: Adam Gidwitz’s The Inquisitor’s Tale and Posthuman Hagiography as an Alternative to Tolerance Discourse”
American Literature Association, Boston, MA, Spring 2017

Vice President, Conference on Christianity and Literature
Associate Editor for Arts and Humanities, Christian Scholar's Review