Dr. David Kline joined the Religious Studies Department as a full-time lecturer in Religion, Race, and Ethnicity in the Americas in fall of 2017. His academic specialties are religion and race in the Americas, critical race theory, and political theology. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Texas at Austin, and Master’s degrees in Theology and Religion from St. Andrews University (M.Litt.), Duke University (M.Div.), and Rice University (MA). In August of 2017 he received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Rice University under the supervision of Anthony B. Pinn.
Dr. Kline is currently turning his dissertation, which was defended with distinction in July 2017, into manuscript form. The project, titled The Apparatus of Christian Identity: Religious (Auto)Immunity, Political Theology, and the Making of the Racial World, provides a critical analysis of western Christian racism and violence as reactionary responses to the perpetual inescapability of social, political, and cultural transformation. Dr. Kline is also the co-author (with CERCL Writing Collective at Rice University) of the book Embodiment and Black Religion: Rethinking the Body in African American Religious Experience (Equinox Press, 2017), which explores the centrality of the body in African American religious experience. In addition, he is also undertaking a research project aimed at producing a book length introductory study of Caribbean theorist Sylvia Wynter from a religious studies perspective. Exploring Wynter’s vast critical explorations of what she calls the modern colonial west’s “monohumanist” figure of “Man,” this project will provide detailed overviews and engagements of Wynter’s use of history, science, philosophy of religion, literature, systems theory, and black studies.
Over the last year, Dr. Kline has enjoyed teaching courses in comparative American religion and race/ethnicity at the University of Tennessee. These include Christianity, Race, and Science; Religion, Theology, and Social Movements in North America; and American Religious History. As a humanities teacher at a public university, these courses have provided wonderful environments through which to explore how complex histories, identity formations, and structures of power really do matter to the lives of students—both as individuals and as citizens within a democracy. On top of teaching, Dr. Kline has also coordinated and produced a podcast interview series titled “UTK Religion Podcast” for visiting speakers at the religious studies department at the University of Tennessee.
Born and raised in Houston, TX, Dr. Kline is an avid Houston Astros baseball fan, realizing a lifelong dream when they won the World Series in 2017. He is also a musician, and was a professional working bass player in Austin, Texas for many years before pursuing graduate training in religious studies. He is delighted to be in Knoxville, and enjoys being close to the Great Smoky Mountains and experiencing four distinct seasons.