Dr Kat Neumann

Kat Neumann

Kat Neumann

I’m a PhD with Religion at Stirling University, having previously graduated from Stirling with Hermeneutics (MLitt, 2010) and English and Religious Studies (BA Hons, 2009).

My research interest is focussed on the interchange between literature and religion, specialising in Christian theology. With my PhD focus on prayer in the work of Dorothee Sölle (1929-2003), a German Protestant poet, activist and theologian, I consider the implications for Sölle’s unsystematic (theological, literary and practical) engagement with the Christian tradition as a means to emancipate faith-based practices from normative/dogmatic dictate, namely rooting prayer conceptually after the death of the (male and omnipotent) God most commonly associated with the institution of the Church. What makes Sölle’s case particularly interesting is her close critical attention to the way in which her poetic discourses on femininity pattern relations with divinity; women and justice, themes axiomatic for Liberation theologies, are given an unafraid close ethical, political and economic reflection that situate Sölle’s comparatively privileged position as a white, Western, middle-class academic. My research looks to offer a reading of the prayer-poetry of Dorothee Sölle, texts published alongside her theological writing career that will serve both as critical introduction – and translation – to her literary work. I consider the status of her poems as literary signifiers for the act of prayer in reflection to her theological and historical starting points: death of God-theology in its response to the Holocaust. Looking at both aesthetic and ethical dimensions of the way she presents and uses her poetry, as well as who conceptually finds articulation in prayer after the death of God provide a focus on the reception of Christian traditions that can break with institutional normative discourse, de-privatising the individual’s prayer by making it into a participatory work of art.

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