International Women’s Day: Dr Rebekah Lamb
An interview with Dr Rebekah Lamb, Lecturer in Theology, Imagination and the Arts in the School of Divinity, about her experiences and influences as part of International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8 March 2022.
What was your childhood ambition?
To pursue the stage…!
What inspired you to get involved in your area of research?
I discovered the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ (1844 to 1899) during my undergrad, and I had never read anyone like him. The depth, musicality, and sheer beauty of his poetry remains, in my view, unrivalled in the English language. I decided I had to study his poetry, as well as Victorian religion and culture more broadly, at the postgraduate level. I’ve never looked back since.
I’m currently collaborating on the Cambridge Companion to Gerard Manley Hopkins in Context and it’s a joy to work on the poet who is responsible for my decision to become a scholar of the long nineteenth century.
Is there a particular woman who has positively impacted on your career?
I’ve greatly admired Edith Stein (1891 to 1942) since my early university days. A German Jewish philosopher who eventually converted to Roman Catholicism, became a Carmelite nun, and died in Auschwitz, Stein responded with resilience, wisdom, and courage to the significant challenges she faced – such as exclusion from the academy and grave, religious persecution. Her writings, especially on the indispensability of women as scholars and educators in public life, have made lasting impressions on me.
Whose voice would you like to amplify this International Women’s Day?
For nearly a decade, I’ve been inspired by the work of Immaculee Ilibagiza, which focuses on the spiritual and psychological need for forgiveness – in the context of reconciliation in war-torn countries but also in everyone’s daily life. As a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, she has become an important figure in her country’s work on reconciliation, social redress, and religious freedom. I’ve been privileged to meet her in person and learn more about her outreach. It’s an experience I won’t ever forget.