syllabi

I’m available to consult on course and syllabus design — contact me about rates and availability.  And if my work has helped you do yours, feel free to let me know or to say thanks in the imperfect language afforded to us by capitalism.


My course, “They’re Coming to Get You, Barbara! Religion and the Monstrous Feminine” was #36 on Elle’s list of “College Classes that Give Us Hope for for the Next Generation.” My pedagogy has also been featured in Women in Higher Education and Sowing the Seed.

 


Religion and Sexuality
Northeastern University: Intermediate Course

The relationship between religion and sexuality is complex, seemingly contradictory, often tense, and full of possibility. This class will consider the richness of sexual difference in the context of contemporary global religions, especially at it relates to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Discussion topics include contraception, polygyny, abuse, homonationalism, and religiously motivated fear—even hatred—of queerness and queer people.

 

 

 


Global Religions
Northeastern University: Introductory Course

What is religion and why does it matter? This course will introduce you to the academic study of religion — scholarly engagement with practices, communities, texts, beliefs, and commitments. We will focus on three course commitments: understanding religion’s multiple meanings, exploring how people live their religions, and analyzing how creativity and conflict help us better understand this phenomenon.

 


How To Do Things With Words: Philosophy of Literature
University of Southern Maine: Introductory Course

How does philosophy and critical theory help us understand literature? What does literature do? This course considers the performative function of literature and language: how we do things with words, and why what we do with words matters. Students engage theoretical approaches to language and literature alongside short stories, poems, and excerpts from novels to better understand the role literature plays in articulating, shaping, and resisting cultural norms.


Black+Blue: American Religions and the Regulation of Bodies of Color
Syracuse University: Advanced Honors Course

This course examines the role that religion has played in the surveillance, policing, and resistance efforts of American communities of color. Readings and assignments provide historical and contemporary context for three current points of American political conflict: the #NoDAPL water protection effort; #BlackLivesMatter; and immigration (with particular attention to the Latinx and Muslim communities). Students will engage challenging scholarship and primary sources, as well as popular fiction, online discourse, podcasts, and images to better understand the complex and multiple ways religion has functioned to oppress and uplift Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Immigrant Americans throughout the nation’s violent history.


American Minority Religions: Goddesses, Guns, and Gurus
Syracuse University: Intermediate Level Course

Americans often claim to value religious freedom and diversity. But how do we respond when religious minorities take more than one spouse, interact with aliens, or stockpile weapons for the end of the world?This class explores common characteristics and populardepictions of minority religions in contemporary American culture. Students will read the speeches and correspondence of charismatic leaders, consider American religious innovation since the 1920s, and analyze popular culture portrayals (including films, graphic novels, and fiction) of minority religions in the United States. In particular, we will attend to the ways gender, sexuality, race, and class influence practices, beliefs, and popular (mis)understandings of American minority religions.


Election! Race, Religion, and American Politics
Syracuse University: Intermediate Honors Course

America is a nation that prides itself on religious diversity but has been deeply shaped by Christianity. In light of the 2016 presidential election, understanding these tensions is crucial. This course examines religious and political issues that will shape the 2016 election while grounding contemporary debates in their historical context, paying particular attention to the religio-political valence of race. Students analyze speeches, debates, court cases, and visual and popular culture sources as well as scholarly articles to explore how religion and politics shape and are shaped by each other.

 


What’s God Got to Do with It? Introduction to the Study of Religion
Syracuse University: Intro Level Course

This course will introduce you to the academic study of religion — scholarly engagement with practices, communities, texts, beliefs, and commitments. We will focus on three course commitments: understanding religion’s multiple meanings, exploring how people live their religions, and analyzing how creativity and conflict help us better understand this phenomenon.

 


They’re Coming to Get You, Barbara! Religion & the Monstrous Feminine
Bates College: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Course

Religion tells us what we should shun: the unfamiliar; the impermissible; the Other. We turn to religion to protect us from demons, vampires, and other monsters. Knowing what scares us tells us who we are, what we want, and what we cannot or will not tolerate. How, then, do we make sense of the monstrous feminine?

This course uses monsters and the idea of the monstrous to introduce foundational concepts in the academic study of religion and gender. Students analyze popular culture sources, including films, short stories, and novels, in conversation with scholarship on religion and cultural studies to explore what monstrosity can tell us about religion and embodiment.


Election!  Religion and American Politics
Bates College: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Course

America is a nation that prides itself on religious diversity but has been deeply shaped by Christianity. Americans claim to support a separation of church and state but also call the United States a Christian nation. In light of the 2016 presidential election, understanding these tensions is crucial.

This course examines religious and political issues that will shape the 2016 election while grounding contemporary debates in their historical context. Students analyze speeches, debates, court cases, and visual and popular culture sources as well as scholarly articles to explore how religion and politics shape each other.

 


Religion and Monsters: What Scares Us (And Why It Matters)
Bates College: Intro Level Interdisciplinary Short Term Course

Religion tells us what we should shun: the unfamiliar; the impermissible; the Other. We turn to religion to protect us from demons, vampires, and other monsters. Knowing what scares us tells us who we are, what we want, and what we cannot or will not tolerate.

This course uses monsters and the idea of the monstrous to introduce foundational concepts in the academic study of religion. Students analyze popular culture sources, including films, short stories, and novels, in conversation with scholarship on religion and cultural studies to explore what monstrosity can tell us about religious and national identity.


Religion and Sexuality
Bates College: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Course

The relationship between religion and sexuality is complex, seemingly contradictory, often tense, and full of possibility. This class will consider the richness of sexual difference in the context of contemporary global religions. Discussion topics include consent, religious ecstasy, plural marriage, contraception, and religiously motivated fear—even hatred—of queerness and queer people.

 

 

 


American Minority Religions: Goddesses, Guns, and Gurus
Bates College: Intermediate Interdisciplinary Course

Americans often claim to value religious freedom and diversity. But how do we respond when religious minorities take more than one spouse, interact with aliens, or stockpile weapons for the end of the world? This class explores common characteristics and popular depictions of minority religions in contemporary American culture. Students will read the speeches and correspondence of charismatic leaders, consider religious innovation since 1945, and analyze popular culture portrayals (including films, graphic novels, and fiction) of minority religions in the United States. In particular, we will attend to the ways gender and sexuality have influenced contemporary beliefs, practices, and popular (mis)understandings of American minority religions..


Religion in a Global Context
Elon University: Introductory Level Course

What is religion and why does it matter? This course will introduce you to the academic study of religion — scholarly engagement with a variety of beliefs, practices, communities, texts, experiences, and material cultures throughout the contemporary world. You’ll learn about the rich history and diversity of a number of religious traditions. We’ll also think critically about how contact, conflict, and exchange among religions have shaped the world in which we live.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to identify and analyze how religion shapes and is shaped by global communities and cultures. You’ll also be able to critically engage many different kinds of sources, including textbooks, creative works (songs, stories, poems, etc.), sacred literature, interviews, and more.


American Minority Religions: Goddesses, Guns, and Gurus
Elon University: Intermediate Level Course

Americans often claim to value religious freedom and diversity. But how do we respond when religious minorities take more than one spouse, interact with aliens, or stockpile weapons for the end of the world? This class explores common characteristics and popular depictions of minority religions in contemporary American culture. Students will read the speeches and correspondence of charismatic leaders, consider religious innovation throughout American history, and analyze popular culture portrayals (including films, graphic novels, and fiction) of minority religions in the United States. In particular, we will attend to the ways gender, sexuality, race, and class influence beliefs, practices, and popular (mis)understandings of American minority religions.