My approach to the study of religion engages interdisciplinary theories and methodologies and diverse concrete examples. My courses explore art and architecture in Tibetan Buddhism, use feminist theory to study New Age pilgrimage, or look to legal studies to understand religious sounds in public spaces. I guide my students to ask critical questions and search for the complicated answers. We examine how religion and violence intersect, what makes sacred space sacred, and why religion is considered distinct from politics. We connect intellectual theories with lived experience, applying what we read in books and articles to what we observe in churches and mosques and what we see in the streets and in museum halls.
I am passionate about helping my students to bring their interests into the religious studies classroom and to carry their new perspectives on religion with them into the world.
- Does Religion Poison Everything? Comparative Religions and Varieties of Violence*: an advanced undergraduate seminar that directly interrogates the concept of “religious violence” through a study in religious communities and their intersections with violence, as its perpetrators, its victims, and its opponents.
- Religion and Politics: Breaching the Wall of Separation*: an undergraduate course that invites students to bring religion and politics to the table for dissection; students also examine the notions of secularism, pluralism, sectarianism, rule of law, religious freedom, human rights, minorities, and toleration.
- Discovering Religious Worlds: an introduction to world religions course that focuses on exploring various religions by looking at discrete facets of religion, from religious spaces and practices to philosophies and bodies.
- Sacred Spaces in America: a survey course that introduces students to American religious history by focusing on the religious spaces and places that cover the American landscape.
- Breaching the Wall of Separation: an upper-level course on religion, law, and politics that examines the linkages between these seemingly separate spheres through a range of geographically and historically diverse case studies.
- Religion and the Secular: an advanced course that interrogates the idea of the secular and explores its manifestations in the United States, France, Turkey, and India.
- Lived Religion: a graduate seminar on everyday religious life that instructs students in ethnographic approaches to the study of religion and guides them in conducting group ethnography projects.
(* indicates courses previously taught)
Read more about my teaching philosophy here: