EDUCATION

PhD, Boston University, January 2012, Religion and Society.

MTS, Harvard Divinity School, 2005 (Program in Religion and Secondary Education)

BA, Hampshire College, 2002 (concentration in comparative religion)

AREAS OF CONCENTRATION

Religion in North America, American Catholicism, Sociology of Religion

Courses Taught: Religion in America, World Religion, Religion in Asia, Old Testament, New Testament

SCHOLARLY AWARDS

Tenth Annual Thomas Robbins Award for Excellence in the Study of New Religious Movements (second place), 2012.

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar for the Study of Religion, 2011.

Angela J. and James J Rallis Memorial Award/Alice M. Brennan Humanities Award for research in the humanities, Boston University Humanities Foundation, 2011.

Boston University Department of Religion and Theological Studies, Travel Grants, 2009, 2010.

The Pluralism Project, Student Research Grant, 2003.

TEACHING AWARD

Outstanding Teaching Fellow in Religious and Theological Studies, Boston University, 2011.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

TEACHING

Spring 2013        Instructor, University of Virginia, Semester at Sea Spring 2013 Voyage
                             Courses Taught: World Religion, Religion in Asia

2011-2012          Adjunct Instructor, Piedmont Virginia Community College
                             Courses Taught: World Religion, Old Testament, New Testament, Religion in America

Fall 2010             Lecturer, Tufts Experimental College
                             Courses Taught: Vampires in Civilization

2009-2011          Teaching Fellow, Boston University
                             Courses Supported: Introduction to Religion, Religion and Culture,
                            Death and Immortality, Buddhism

2006-2008          Teacher, Open Campus High School, Atlanta, GA
                             Courses: US History, World History

2005-2006          Teacher, Indianapolis Metropolitan Career Academy, Indianapolis, IN
                             Courses: Full curriculum for the state of Indiana
                              Licensed to teach social studies in MA, IN, and GA.

 

RESEARCH

2005                   Research manager for Harvard Study on Teaching About Religion in the Schools
                             (HSTARS), 2005.

2003-2004          Grant research assistant for the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard
                             Divinity School.

PUBLICATIONS

DISSERTATION

“The Church and the Seer: Veronica Lueken, the Baysider Movement, and the Roman Catholic Hierarchy.”  Defended December 14, 2011.

BOOKS

Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds (currently under peer-review)

The Seer of Bayside: Veronica Lueken, the Baysiders, and the Struggle to Define Catholic Tradition (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism. Westport: Praeger, 2009.

PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES

“The Controversial History of the Crystal Skulls: A Case Study in Interpretive Drift,” Material Religion. In press, 2015.

“Forward: Approaching the Paranormal" Nova Religio. In press, 2014.

“Laughing Matters: ‘Parody Religions’ and the Command to Compare,” Bulletin of the Study of Religion. 42:3 (September 2013): 19-26.

“Yoga for the New Man and the New Woman: The Role of Pierre Bernard and Blanche DeVries in the Creation of Modern Postural Yoga,” Journal of Religion and American Culture 23:1 (Winter 2013): 80-106.

"Where Do They Get These Ideas? Changing Ideas of Cults and the Mirror of Popular Culture," Journal of the American Academy of Religion 18:1 (March 2013): 80-106.

“We Are Spirits of Another Sort’: Ontological Rebellion and Religious Dimensions of the Otherkin Community,” Nova Religio 15:3 (2012): 65-90.

“Levitating the Pentagon: Exorcism as Politics, Politics as Exorcism,” Implicit Religion  14:3 (2011): 295-318.

“Carnal Knowledge: The Epistemology of Sexual Trauma in Witches’ Sabbath, Satanic Ritual Abuse, and Alien Abduction Narratives,”Preternature 1:1 (2012): 100-129.

"Review Essay: Paranormal Belief: A New Frontier?,"Nova Religio 15:5 (2011): 92-97.

"Conversion by Infection: The Sociophobic of Cults in The Omega Man" The International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 1:2 (2011): 261-278.

Tylor, Vampires, and the Anthropology of Religion.” Arc, The Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University, 28 (2010): 115-139.

"Myth Sells: Mattel’s Commission of the Masters of the Universe Bible," The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, 22:2 (Summer 2010).

"Vampires as an Ascriptive Identity Group: Analyzing Causes and Effects of an Introspective Survey by the Vampire Community," Nova Religio, 14:1 (2010): 4-23.

Reprinted as “Vampires as an Ascriptive Identity Group: Analyzing Causes and Effects of an Introspective Survey by the Vampire Community” in Adam Possamai, ed., Handbook of Hyper-Real Religions. Boston: Brill, 2012: 141-163.

“From Parasite to Symbiote: The Genealogy of the Psychic Vampire,” Proteus: A Journal of Ideas. 26:2 (2009): 25-31.

"God’s Last, Best Gift to Mankind: Gnostic Science and the Eschaton in the Vision of John Murray Spear," Aries 10:1 (2009): 63-83.

“The Folk Piety of William Peter Blatty: ‘The Exorcist” in the Context of Secularization," Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, Vol 5 (2009).

“Mothman: Monster, Disaster, and Community,” Fieldwork in Religion 3: 1 (2008): 70-86.

BOOK CHAPTERS

“The Trial of the West Memphis Three: Rival Visions of Evil,” in Sharon Packer and Jody Pennington, eds., The Devil We Know: Evil in American Pop Culture.  Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, forthcoming, 2014.

“Crossing the Spiritual Wasteland in ‘Priest’ in John W. Morehead and Kim Paffenroth, eds., Theology and the Undead. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications, 2012: 19-33.

REFERENCE MATERIALS

The Encyclopedia of Exorcism and Spirit Possession (editor) (ABC-CLIO), forthcoming, 2015.

“Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993,” Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs (ABC-CLIO), forthcoming.

“Neo-American Church,” Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Drugs (ABC-CLIO), forthcoming.

“Cults,” Encyclopedia of Religion and Politics in America (ABC-CLIO), forthcoming.

“Catholicism,” Encyclopedia of Religion and Politics in America (ABC-CLIO), forthcoming.

“Demons, Demonology: Christianity, Modern Europe and America,” Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception. Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2013: 566-570.

“Religion in Schools” in Ruth Chadwick, ed., Encyclopedia of Applied Ethics Volume 3.  San Diego: Academic Press, 2012: 757-765.

BOOK REVIEWS

Danielle Kirby, Fantasy and Belief: Alternative Religions, Popular Narratives and Digital Cultures (Bristol, Conn.: Equinox, 2013).  In Numen In Press.

Darryl V. Caterine, Haunted Ground: Journeys Through Paranormal America (Santa Barbara, Calif.: Praeger, 2011).  In In Preternature 2:2 (2013): 276-278.

Jeffrey J. Kripal, Mutants and Mystics: Science-Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal (Chicago, Ill.: University of Chicago Press, 2011).  In Symposia Vol. 4 (2012).

Scott Poole, Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting (Waco, Tx.: Baylor University Press, 2011).  In Monsters and the Monstrous 2:1 (May 2012).

Robert Love, The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America (New York: Viking, 2010).  In Nova Religio15:3 (2012): 122-123.

Terry Eagleton,On Evil (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2010).  In Symposia, Vol 3 (2011).

Peter Sloterdijk, God’s Zeal: The Battle of the Three Monotheisms. (Malden: Polity Press, 2009).  In Symposia. Vol 2 (2010).

Douglas Cowan, Sacred Terror. (Waco, Tx.: Baylor University Press, 2008). In Journal of Religion and Film 13:2 (2009).

Christine Wicker, Not in Kansas Anymore: Dark Arts, Sex Spells, Money Magic, and Other Things Your Neighbors Aren’t Telling You (New York: HarperCollins, 2005) in Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies 10.2 (2008): 279-281.

INTERNET PUBLICATIONS

SELECTED PAPERS AND PRESENTATIONS

“Yoga for the New Woman and the New Man: The Role of Pierre Bernard and Blanche DeVries in the Creation of Modern Postural Yoga,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, November 18, 2012.

“The Other Kind of Apocalypse: The Christian Worldview of ‘They Live.” Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion annual meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, March 3, 2012.

“The Pope is an Imposter!: Marian Devotion in the Wake of Vatican II,” American Catholic Historical Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, January 5, 2012.

“The Case of the Vampires: New Religious Movements, The Sacralization of Pop Culture, and Practical Strategies for Chaplaincy,” Didactic seminar, University of Virginia Chaplaincy Services and Pastoral Education, November 28, 2011.

“Vampires are Real,” Flash Seminar, University of Virginia, October 25, 2011.

“Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampirism,” Invited lecture at Hampshire College, April 4, 2011.

“Where Do They Get These Ideas?: Changing Ideas of ‘Cults’ in Popular Culture,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Atlanta Georgia, October 31, 2010.

“From Esoteric to Exoteric: Pierre Bernard and the Arrival of Tantra to the West,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, October 31, 2010.

“Vampires from Slavic Folklore to Edward Cullen,” invited lecture at Boston University Academy, September 16, 2010.

“Out Demons Out: A Durkheimian Reading of the 1967 Exorcism of the Pentagon,” Association for the Sociology of Religion Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, August 12, 2010.

“Carnal Knowledge: The Epistemology of Sexual Trauma in WitchÕs Sabbath, Satanic Ritual Abuse, and Alien Abduction Narratives,” Poetics of Pain Conference, CUNY, February 26, 2010.

“God’s Last, Best Gift to Mankind: Gnostic Science and the Eschaton in the Vision of John Murray Spear,” “Lunch and Learn” lecture, University of Michigan, December 22, 2009.

“Conversion by Infection: The Sociophobic of Cults in Omega Man,” Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association annual meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, November 7, 2009.

“Ontological Rebellion: The Otherkin Community and the Struggle for Reality,” Association for the Sociology of Religion annual meeting, San Francisco, California, August 8, 2009.

“Myth Sells: Mattel’s Commission of the He-Man Bible,” National Popular Culture Association annual meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 7, 2009.

“Nice Little Things Like That: Oom the Omnipotent and the Marketing of Yoga to the American Public,” Engaging Particularities VII Conference, Boston College, March 28, 2009.

Panel Respondent, Ethics, Religion and Teaching: From Teaching to Practice, Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion annual meeting, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, March 13, 2009.

“The Gospel According to Biff: Pedagogical Uses of Satire,” Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion annual meeting, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, March 15, 2009.

“The Real Vampire Community: Identity and Modernity,” Social Science and Religion Network lecture, Boston University, February 9, 2009.

“Vampires Today: The Truth About Modern Vampires,” “Lunch and Learn” lecture, University of Michigan, December 22, 2008.

“Psychic Vampirism: a Genealogy of an American Metaphysical System,” Association for the Study of Esotericism annual meeting, Charleston, North Carolina, May 30, 2008.

“Teaching Islam in Georgia Public Schools in Theory and Practice,” Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion annual meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, March 8, 2008.

“Gathering Data with the Vampire: Analyzing Causes and Effects of an Introspective Survey by the Vampire Community,” American Academy of Religion annual meeting, San Diego, California, November, 2008.

“Mothman and Durkheim: a 21st Century Totem” (Poster session), American Academy of Religion annual meeting, Washington, District of Columbia, November 2006.

“World Religion in Secondary Schools: Contending Schools of Thought,” Religious Studies in Secondary Schools annual meeting, San Antonio, Texas, November 2004.

“Mapping Religious Diversity in Austin, TX,” Pluralism Project Fall Research Conference, Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 15, 2003.

SERVICE

Guest editor for Nova Religio, issue forthcoming 2014.

Associate editor for NeoAmericanist.

Peer review service for Nova Religio, The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, and The Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion, Claremont Journal of Religion.

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

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