Faculty Research Interests

While setting themselves apart by consistently offering engaging classes and dedicated supervision, our faculty members also carry out innovative research.

They regularly present and publish their work in a wide variety of venues — from articles in peer-reviewed journals, single-author monographs, and edited volumes published by some of the leading presses to workshops, conferences, and invited public lectures across the U.S. and throughout the world.

Studying religion at UA, therefore, means not only working with faculty who are each involved in active and ongoing research projects but also working with scholars who are helping to reshape the international field.

You can read brief samples of their work, written for a wide audience, by visiting our department blog, and searching for individual faculty authors. Recent publications are also featured on the department’s Faculty Bookshelf.

Research Interests and Select Publications

Michael J. Altman: American religious history, colonialism, identity, Asian religions in American culture, and the Digital Humanities; he is the author of Heathen, Hindoo, Hindu: American Representations of India, 1721-1893 (Oxford, 2017) and the coordinator for the UA-sponsored American Examples working group.

Steven L. Jacobs: biblical studies, translation, interpretation, ancient Israel, modern middle East, and Holocaust and Genocide Studies; among his works is his book The Jewish Experience: An Introduction to Jewish History and Jewish Life (Fortress, 2010).

Daniel Levine: International Relations, political philosophy and theory, and Middle Eastern politics; among his works is Recovering International Relations: The Promise of Sustainable Critique (Oxford, 2012).

Nathan R. B. Loewen: philosophy of religion, global philosophy, deconstructionism, Asian religions, development studies, and the Digital Humanities; he is the author of Beyond the Problem of Evil: Derrida and Anglophone Philosophy of Religion (Rowan & Littlefield, 2018) and the coordinator for the UA Teaching Hub.

Russell T. McCutcheon: classification, governmentality, authenticity, theories of religion, history of the study of religion; he is the author or editor/co-editor of over 20 books, with his most recent books being ‘Religion’ in Theory and Practice (Equinox 2018) and Fabricating Religion: Fanfare for the Common e.g. (Walter de Gruyter, 2018).

Richard Newton: scripture, race, African American religions, American cultural politics, identity, and the Digital Humanities; he is the author of Identifying Roots: Alex Haley and the Anthropology of Scripture (Equinox, 2020) and essays such as “The Spooky Politics of Dark Truths,” published in Religion & Theology (Brill 2018).

Steven Ramey: identity, migration, social contest, ancient and modern Hinduism, Asian religions; his latest book is Fabricating Difference (Equinox 2017), the editor of Writing Religion: The Case for the Critical Study of Religion (Alabama, 2015), and co-editor of the international peer review journal, Method & Theory in the Study of Religion.

K. Merinda Simmons: gender studies, southern U.S. studies, postcolonial studies, African American literature and theory, migration and diaspora studies; she is the author of Changing the Subject: Writing Women across the African Diaspora (2014), the co-editor of The Trouble with Post-Blackness (Columbia, 2015), and series editor for Concepts in the Study of Religion (Equinox).

Vaia Touna: ancient Graeco-Roman world, the past, theories of myth, identity; she edits the Working With Culture on the Edge book series (Equinox), is the author of Fabrications of the Greek Past: Religion, Tradition, and the Making of Modern Identities (Brill. 2017), and editor of the essay collection, Strategic Acts in the Study of Identity (Equinox 2019).

Theodore L. Trost: American religious history, pop culture, bible, religious rhetoric in literature and film; he is the author of Douglas Horton and the Ecumenical Impulse in American Religion (Harvard, 2003) and editor of The African Diaspora and the Study of Religion (Palgrave 2007).

Jeri Wieringa: computational and data science/digital humanities methods as applied to the study of American religious history; among her works is her 2019 dissertation A Gospel of Heath: Modeling the Religious Culture of Seventh-day Adventism, 1843-1920. Jeri is also the Director of the REL Digital Lab.

Hear from our faculty about books that have influenced their research interests.