I am a professor of religious studies in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Canada. Professors generally enjoy professing and I am no exception. My specialties are: religion and popular culture, religion and gender, and religion and psychoanalysis. Lately, I have been drawn to the emerging field of “critical religion,” a new sub-discipline that focuses on the construction of the category of religion and its relationship to other categories such as the secular and politics. These topics and themes are prominent in my classes, lectures and writings.
I began my academic training as a classicist, but switched to religious studies as a graduate student in order to study how myths, symbols and images take on meaning in both personal and cultural contexts. The flexibility and inclusiveness of religious studies as a discipline has provided a hospitable forum for my passions and commitments as a scholar, writer, critic and educator.
I was born in Brooklyn, New York and lived in New Jersey, Connecticut and Michigan before moving to Ottawa in 1977. I attended Douglass College as an undergraduate and Princeton and Yale Universities for graduate work. Like most Americans, I grew up learning little about Canada. Now I am immersed in the problems, pleasures and politics of both countries. I hold dual citizenship and vote in Canadian and US elections.