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Religious Studies in the News

Welcome New Lecturers 

GardnerLisa Gasson-Gardner joined our faculty as a lecturer in fall 2021. Gasson-Gardner holds a PhD from Drew University and an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School. Her current research examines the status of truth in American political discourse through the lenses of American religious history, political theology, affect theory, and continental philosophy. She proposes an economy of political truth that accounts for the role of feeling in truth-making without reproducing the white supremacy that constantly seeks to center itself as a first principle in US political conversations.  

naparstekMichael Naparstek joined our faculty as a lecturer in the fall 2020. Naparstek quickly became a favorite among students and won the 2021 F. Stanley Lusby and John O. Hodges Teaching Award. Naparstek studies Chinese religions with a focus on Daoist rituals and art. In particular, his work on exorcistic Thunder Deities shows how the study of visual and material cultures in Asian religions contributes to the broader discourse of presence and object agency. Naparstek courses frame the academic study of religion through the lens of ritual interactions and the various lives of icons with the goal of applying the critical skills developed in class to practical considerations of religion’s role in today’s world. 

Dallas Tatman joined our faculty as a lecturer in fall 2021. Tatman teaches REST 102: The Comparison of Religions, REST 302: Anthropology of Religion, and REST/AFST 373: Introduction to African Religions. Tatman’s primary research incorporates religious studies, anthropology, and history to examine intersections of religion and sport. Tatman is currently finishing his dissertation, “King of the Ring: Religion, Sport, and Pluralism in Senegal” at the University of Virginia. In this project, Tatman views religious pluralism in Senegalese society through the lens of the Senegalese national sport of wrestling, called làmb. To interrogate existing categories that define what it means to be both a Muslim and an athlete in Senegal, Tatman employs a “bottom up” approach that emphasizes reciprocal ethnographic fieldwork supplemented by archival data. As a life-long Big Ten fan, Tatman is (slowly) learning to love the SEC.  


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