Faculty Research and Publications
Faculty Authored Books
In Associate Professor Matthew King’s latest publication, In the Forest of the Blind: The Eurasian Journey of Faxian’s Record of Buddhist Kingdoms, King examines the travelogue writings of 5th-century Chinese monk, Faxian. Faxian’s text was taken up transnationally, sparking interest amongst the thinkers like Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche. In this monograph, King re-examines the dissemination of the text and offers new conceptions of Inner Asian Buddhism and new perspectives on decolonial methodology.
Associate Professor Ana Bajželj’s latest co-authored publication, Insistent Life: Principles for Bioethics in the Jain Tradition, offers interdisciplinary insight on the issue of bioethics in Jainism. The Jain tradition, steeped in ethical understandings of the body, offers a rich locale for such a study–with examinations of historical Jain texts as well as contemporary practices, Insistent Life is the first work of its kind.
Professor Amanda Lucia’s most recent monograph, White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals, utilizes years of ethnographic data from festivals like Burning Man, Lightening in a Bottle, and Bhakti Fest to examine how festivals might facilitate religious experience. Lucia offers unique analyses of the primarily “Spiritual But Not Religious” (SBNR) individuals that attend these festivals, most of whom are white. White Utopias offers important new perspectives on transformational festivals as racialized spaces of SBNR formation.
In Making Peace with the Universe: Personal Crisis and Spiritual Healing, Professor Michael Scott Alexander examines the phenomenon of individual existential crisis and the ways religion often combats these crises, despite popular secular-medical means of healing. Utilizing a broad set of source material from Socrates to jazz musician and Catholic convert Mary Lou Williams, Alexander examines the ways in which religious and spiritual endeavors become legitimate and transformational therapeutic tools.
Department chair and Professor Melissa Wilcox’s Queer Religiosities: An Introduction to Queer and Transgender Studies in Religion offers a first-of-its-kind comprehensive review of queer and transgender studies in religion. This accessible and comparative monograph provides a much needed introductory survey of the key concepts, thinkers, and theories important to the field of queer and transgender studies in religion.
Professor Pashaura Singh’s foundational work in the field of Sikh studies is evident in his edited volume, The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies. The volume offers an important comprehensive examination of the field of Sikh studies from its foundational texts to its major scholars and theories. A key introductory survey, The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies shows the history of a developing field, and proposes ways of thinking toward its future.
In Queer Nuns, Professor Melissa Wilcox offers an ethnographic examination of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an order of self-described “queer nuns” founded by a group of gay men who, after decided to don nuns’ habits and walk through the streets of San Fransisco, created a global movement. In examining how the Sisters parody their proximity to religious life while upholding and taking seriously their religious status, Wilcox examines how the Sisters bring together conversations of queerness, religiosity, and activism.