Department of Religious Studies

PhD Alum, Josh Urich, Describes Teaching Behind Bars with Nonprofit 'Inside Literature'

Wed, May 1, 2019
PhD Alum, Josh Urich, Describes Teaching Behind Bars with Nonprofit 'Inside Literature'
Josh Urich, PhD Alum.

Josh Urich, UT PhD alum and Department of Religion Teaching Fellow at Trinity University, was recently featured in the Partner Connect newsletter for the Travis County Sheriff's Office. He describes his experience as a volunteer for Inside Literature, a nonprofit which focuses on the study of literature with incarcerated persons:

“I remember being in high school literature classes listening to the teacher drone on about themes and symbols and literary devices, and I would think, “This is ridiculous. These are just stories.” Years later, while pursuing a master’s degree in Religious Studies, I wrote a paper on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, which forced me to consider again those things I once thought of as silly. Only this time they weren’t silly. That book did not give me anything to help my MA, as it turned out, but it did give me a small piece of insight about the human condition. I moved on to pursue a PhD, I kept reading literature on my own time and finding people to talk about literature with. I realized that we all bring something unique to literature, and if we all take it seriously, we can learn something from it, each of us taking our unique pearls of wisdom and sharing those with each other. I’m now a professor of Religious Studies at Trinity University, but I look forward to my classes with Inside Literature--not to tell students what literature means, but to discover with them what wisdom great literature has to share."

Inside Literature is a 501(с)(3) non-profit corporation and community-based learning program in Austin, Texas. They provide university-level instruction to inmates in pre-trial facilities at zero cost to taxpayers. They offer 6-week literature courses led by instructors with advanced degrees in related fields.

You may learn more about Inside Literature here.

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