I earned by Ph.D. at the University of Toronto in 1995, having begun work as a full-time instructor at the University of Tennessee two years before; although trained in Canada, my career has been spent in the U.S., working at three different public universities and being the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama for 15 of the past 20 years—during a time in which the Department was reinvented and expanded. My writing and teaching has consistently focused on the practical conditions and effects of category formation, initially in the case of such designations as “religion,” “myth,” “ritual,” “origin,” and “authenticity” but then moving more broadly, while working with social theory, into studies of identity and identification.
I have published a wide variety of books, whether single- and co-authored works or a variety of essay collections of my own writings, along with editing or co-editing a number of handbooks and class resources, all of which are aimed at scholars interested in entertaining an alternative way of doing our work as scholars of religion. Although much of it pre-dates the “critical religion” nomenclature, my work is consistent with a turn toward theory and an interest in how classification systems and society at large works, as exemplified in the topics traditionally studied in the field known either as Comparative Religion or Religious Studies.
Learn more about my work here or visit either my Department’s blog or the blog for the Culture on the Edge research group for a sampling of my public writings on a variety of topics.