I'm a writer, public speaker, editor, and college professor. My work starts with a basic question: What does it mean to be human? For me, this question is inseparable from the question: What makes humans religious?
My experiences traveling and talking with people, parenting and partnering, observing and reading, have led me to believe that many of the important experiences of human life turn around the central role of simple physical experiences: eating bread together, looking at images, smelling spices, listening to music, and touching other bodies. These are all sensually meaningful activities that engage communities of people, providing order and values for living and, more often than not, a little disorder.
In short, religion is about bodies, not beliefs.
I have conducted research and given lectures around the world and taught at the Universities of Vermont and Colorado, Texas Christian University, and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. Currently, I hold a special appointment as an associate professor at Hamilton College in Central New York.
Along the way, I've spent time at an ashram in Vrindavan, India; the Taizé community in France; an evangelical Christian retreat center in the mountains of Southern California; a Vietnamese Buddhist monastery in the Catskills; a two-week intensive seminar on Japanese gardens in Kyoto; and a four-week Fulbright seminar on visual culture in Germany. In the winter of 2016 I walked 750-kilometers of the Camino de Santiago.
Browse the other pages from this site to find out more.
Recent and upcoming events:
Busan, South Korea. 31 Oct - 2 Nov. '18 – Presentation, "Created in our Image" at the World Humanities Forum.
Denver, CO. 16-20 Nov '18 – Presentations on film, television, religion at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting.
Elon, NC. 7-9 Feb '19 – Keynote speaker at Elon University's "The Religious Body Imagined"
Monmouth University, NJ. 3-5 June '19 – Presenting on "How to get published in academia" at the Implicit Religion conference.
Syracuse University. 15 Sept '19 – Gathering of Central New York Religion Consortium.
Jeonju, South Korea. 10-11 Oct '19 – Co-organizer and presenter at symposium, "Religious Conflicts and Coexistence: The Korean Context and Beyond"
Saratoga Springs, NY. 15 Oct '19 – Public talk on "The Spiritual Life of Dolls" at Skidmore College.
Loretto, PA. 29 Oct '19 – Public talk on "The Spiritual Life of Dolls" at St Francis University.
San Diego, CA. 22-26 Nov '19 – Presentations on infrastructure, journal editing at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting.
Los Angeles, CA. 31 Jan-1 Feb '20 – "Engaging Lived Religion in the 21st Century Museum," Advisory Committee meeting, Fowler Museum, UCLA
Ann Arbor, MI. 15 Mar '20 – "A History of Religion in 5 1/2 Objects" at University of Michigan.
New York City. 25-29 Mar '20 – Interfilm Symposium
Santiago, Chile. 30 Mar '20 – Presentation at Center for Religion at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Locarno, Switzerland. 5-15 Aug '20 – Ecumenical Jury member, Locarno Film Festival.