Vaia Touna was trained at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki where she earned her B.A. in the study of religion and received her M.A. in 2008. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Alberta and successfully defended her dissertation in September of 2015. Although Greek is her first language, she is also fluent in English, French, and Italian, as well as working in ancient Greek source materials.
She first came to the University of Alabama in May 2009, as part of REL’s annual study abroad trip to Greece, organized by Prof. Russell McCutcheon. During her one week stay, she taught four classes to the students who enrolled for the 2009 trip. Ms. Touna acted as the local coordinator for the 2008 and 2009 trips.
In the spring of 2010, Prof. Touna came again as an instructor to the University of Alabama as part of the Alabama-Greece Initiative during which time she taught REL 105 and co-taught REL 100 and REL 480 with Prof. Russell McCutcheon. She also taught courses in Modern Greek language through the Critical Languages Center.
Her scholarly interests in religion in society range widely, from looking at specific concepts from the Classical and Hellenistic eras to methodological issues concerning the study of religion in general. Her research focuses on the sociology of identity formation with examples drawn from the ancient Greco-Roman world and modern Greece.
Prof. Touna is currently working on an edited book entitled The Problem of Nostalgia in the Study of Identity: Towards a Dynamic Theory of People and Place which is forthcoming from Equinox Publishing.
Learn more about Prof. Touna
Watch her first interview with the REL film crew.
Read some of Prof. Touna’s blogs in Culture on the Edge.
REL 100 Introduction to Religious Studies
REL 105 Honors Introduction to Religious Studies
REL 237 Self, Society, and Religions
REL 370 Religion in Ancient Greece