Associate Professor of Religious Studies
My areas of specialization are Religions of India, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Anthropology of Religion. As a generalist, I also teach “Introduction to Religion in Culture,” and “Religion in Popular Culture,” both of which grow out of my continued interest in everyday, lived religion. I use several comics and graphic novels in my “Religion and Popular Culture” class, which formed the initial ideas that led to my Virginia Ball Center Immersive-Learning Seminar (Spring 2015), “Representing Religion in Comics.” In 2014 I received BSU’s highest teaching award, The Outstanding Teaching Award, and I continue working intensively on issues of teaching and learning in Religious Studies. Currently, I am the Project Director for a $30,000 grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion (2015-2017), “Faith Commitments in the Classroom.” Part of the grant work involves a number of revisions to our curriculum, including the creation of several new courses (with my colleagues), and the development of a vibrant community of students interested in examining roles of religion in culture. One of my current research projects examines representations of “Hindus” and “Hinduism” in modern comics books. A second major project is an examination of the continued legacy of a 17th century Hindu “saint” through literature (the Marathi novel Ānanda Owarī [D. B. Mokashi]), drama, and film. (I tweeted an initial, line-by-line, translation that included the original Marathi.) Finally, I am the Regionally Elected Coordinator for the American Academy of Religion, Midwest Region (2015-2017), and I am pleased to host at BSU the annual conference for the first time.