Faculty Profiles

Christine Colon Faculty Headshot

Christine Colón, Ph.D.

Professor of English, Department Chair

On Faculty since 2000
Blanchard 315

Dr. Christine Colón (Ph.D. University of California at Davis) specializes in nineteenth-century English literature, but occasionally she branches out to explore other authors such as Dorothy L. Sayers or contemporary topics such as singleness in the evangelical church. Her teaching interests also include Women Writers, Latin American Literature, and Methods of Teaching English. Professionally, Dr. Colón has recently spent a good deal of time at the Wade Center (here at Wheaton College) researching Dorothy L. Sayers, and she is beginning a project on postsecular studies and the 19th c. novel. She has also been busy retooling her Jane Austen course for Wheaton's new General Education curriculum. In addition, she is committed to helping our students become excellent secondary school teachers; she spends a significant amount of time supervising and mentoring student teachers. She also frequently directs the English Department’s summer program in England.

University of California at Davis
Ph.D., English, 2000

California Polytechnic State University
M.A., English, 1994

Biola University
B.A. summa cum laude, English, 1990

  • 19th century British Literature
  • Feminist Theory and Research
  • Postsecular Studies
  • Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century British Women Writers Association
  • Conference on Christianity and Literature
  • Dorothy L. Sayers Society
  • The Jane Austen Society of North America
  • Midwest Victorian Studies Association
  • MLA
  • National Council of Teachers of English

The Unacceptable Alternative Lifestyle
First Things

A quick perusal of religious websites for singles confirms my experience, that people who defy the sexually active lifestyle while single find their own sense of liberation and purpose. “Celibacy can be a radical testimony to God’s love and provision,” summarizes one articulate voice, Christine Colon, associate professor of English at Wheaton College, “because it reminds us that our ultimate fulfillment has to be union with God . . . there are always going to be these longings unfulfilled here on earth.” Other online chastity advocates include websites like Notes from the Sisterhood of Perpetual Singleness and Celibrate, which aims to replace negative stereotypes of celibacy with positive testimonials and examples...
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Dr. Christine Colón Talks with Christianity Today
Christianity Today

Does true love wait, and wait, and wait some more? Christine Colón and Bonnie Field, friends at Biola University in the '80s, did not begin to think seriously about singleness until their 30s, when they realized this marriage thing wasn't happening. Frustrated by several churches where marriage and family life were framed as spiritually optimal, both women turned to each other and to other singles for constructive ways to interpret their singleness beyond, "Just hold on, he [or she] will come along soon." Thankfully, the book borne of Colón and Field's experience does more than vent. Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today's Church (Brazos) looks at common assumptions about marriage in popular culture and the church, critiquing the latter from taking too many cues from the former.
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Doubling Characters Across Novels: Esther Summerson and Arthur Clennam
Midwest MLA, Loyola University Chicago, November 2019

Navigating the Beauty and Brokenness of Humility: Andrew Davies’ Adaptations of Esther Summerson and Amy Dorrit
Dickens Symposium, Tubingen, Germany, July 2018

Exploring the 'Radical Ordinary': Charles Dickens's Theology in Little Dorrit
Dickens Symposium, Boston, MA, July 2017

Exploring the 'Radical Ordinary': A Postsecular Appraisal of Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey
NAVSA, Florence, Italy, May 2017

Surviving Religious Abuse in Childhood: Charles Dickens's Reworking of Esther Summerson into Arthur Clennam and Amy Dorrit
NAVSA, Phoenix, AZ, November 2016

From Agnes to Helen: Anne Brontë's Exploration of the Virtuous Heroine
Northeast MLA, Hartford, CT, March 2016

Defending Tennyson: Dorothy L. Sayers and the Art of Charitable Reading
Southwest Conference on Christianity and Literature, Belton, TX, October 2015

Patricia Rozema and Whit Stillman Respond to Jane Austen
Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture: Faith and Film, Waco, TX, October 2014

The Conflict between Stage and Page in Joanna Baillie’s "Plays on the Passions"
International Conference on Romanticism, Minneapolis, MN, September 2014

Translating Morality from Literature to Film: The Problem of Jane Austen’s "Mansfield Park"
Midwestern Regional Conference on Christianity and Literature, Wheaton College, March 2014

The Necessity of the Body in Joanna Baillie’s Plays on the Passions
North American Society for the Study of Romanticism, Boston University, August 2013

Wrestling with their Father’s Faith: Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Respond to Patrick Brontë’s Christianity
Midwest Victorian Studies Association Conference, Cleveland, OH, April 2013

Ugly Austen: Exploring the ‘Realism’ of Roger Michell’s Persuasion and Joe Wright’s "Pride & Prejudice."
Lecture for the English Department, Roberts Wesleyan College, March 2013

Singleness and Identity: Living Life Abundantly
Roberts Wesleyan College, Rochester NY, March 2013

Searching for the ‘rare exceptions’: Anne Brontë and the Role of the Orphan in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
Religion and Literature in the Long Nineteenth Century Conference, Wheaton College, October 2012

Honoring God in Community: Singles and the Church
T3 Talks, Biola University, October 2012

Caring for the Orphans: The Question of Pure Religion in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.
The Hospitable Text: New Approaches to Religion and Literature Conference, London Notre Dame Centre, UK, July 2011

  • ENGL 156 - Reading Writers: Shakespeare
  • ENGL 201/285 – Topics in Global Literature
  • ENG 324/325 – Methods of Teaching English
  • ENGL 355 – Romanticism
  • ENGL 361 - Victorian Literature
  • ENGL 375 - Women Writers
  • ENGL 388 - Jane Austen
  • ENGL 433 - Varied Literary Topics: Modern British Drama
  • ENGL 486 - Wade Center Authors: Dorothy L. Sayers
  • ENGL 494 - Senior Seminar
  • ENGW 103 - First Year Writing: Composition and Research
  • CORE 101 - Living Well in Community
  • CORE 346 - Diversity in American Theater

I am fascinated by the inability of most feminist literary critics to address the empowering role Christianity plays in the lives of many British women writers. They tend to see the history of women writers as one in which women are continually fighting against a repressive, patriarchal status quo (often represented by established religion), and they tend to focus on writers who rebel overtly against the status quo, ignoring anyone who is too "conservative." They also tend to create what Margaret Ezell calls an "evolutionary narrative" of women's writing, in which women writers become more empowered as British society moves away from its traditional religious roots.

In my research, I question those assumptions by exploring the works of Christian women writers who were extremely popular in their own day but who have been almost entirely ignored by feminist critics. Rather than taking their "conservative" values for granted, I look at how their faith influences their works and how, in many cases, it was what actually empowered them to publish their works.

My interests, then, are twofold: I want to help recover the works of these Christian women writers who have been ignored by mainstream feminist critics, and I desire to help create a new conception of the history of British women writers that is no longer based on this "evolutionary narrative" but instead considers how, throughout history, women writers have had to re-negotiate issues of power as religious, political, and social ideas have shifted.

Navigating the Beauty and Brokenness of Humility: Video Adaptations of Esther Summerson and Amy Dorrit, Dickens and Women Observed.
Christine A. Colón, 2020.

Defending Tennyson: Dorothy L. Sayers and the Art of Charitable Reading. Christianity and Literature 66.2 (2017): 274-92.
Christine A. Colón, 2017.

Wrestling with their Father’s Faith: Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Respond to Patrick Brontë’s Christianity, “Perplext in Faith”: Essays on Victorian Beliefs and Doubts
Christine A. Colón, 2014

Exploring the Transformative Power of Literature: Jane Austen, Joanna Baillie, and the Aesthetics of Moral Reform, Elegance, Harmony, Propriety: Jane Austen and Aesthetics
Christine A. Colón, 2014

Dorothy L. Sayers and the Theology of Gender, Christianity and the Detective Story
Christine A. Colón, 2013

Detachment is a Rare Virtue: Dorothy L. Sayers and the Construction of Female Identity, Persona and Paradox: Issues of Identity for C. S. Lewis, His Friends and Associates
Christine A. Colón, 2012