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Religious Studies Faculty

Dr. Kay Jordan

kjordan@radford.edu
Professor of Religious Studies
706 Fairfax, A102
540-831-5899

Ph.D. University of Iowa

Courses taught: Religions of India, Religions of China and Japan, World Religions, Introduction to Religion
 

Dr. Susan Kwilecki

skwileck@radford.edu
Professor of Religious Studies
706 Fairfax, C103
540-831-5913

Ph.D. Stanford

Courses taught: Social-Scientific Study of Religion, World Religions, Introduction to Religion

Teaching interests: I like to study religious life in its strongest, most dramatic forms.  Thus, in addition to the intro level courses, I teach:

  • RELN 206: Survey of Religious Experiences: Academic study of Near Death and mystical experiences, demon possession, angel and ghost encounters, channeling.
  • RELN 370: American Sects and Cults: The controversy generated by “dangerous” religions such as the Peoples Temple (900 people drank poisoned Kool-Aid) and Heaven’s Gate (members committed suicide in order to board a spacecraft).
  • RELN 381: Religion and Death: The myriad ways religions depict and address the harsh reality that we all die—views of the afterlife, contact with the dead, funerals.

Research interests: Focuses on After-Death Communications, a contemporary American type of ghost encounter. Spirits of deceased loved ones reportedly contact grief-stricken survivors through visions, dreams, voices, odors, coincidences, the computer, or the telephone. “I’m okay, I’m nearby, I love you,” say the ghosts, who are described as healthy, happy, kind, and helpful—in contrast to the vindictive, preachy, frightening apparitions reported in other cultural settings.
 

Dr. Paul Brian Thomas

thomas_paul

pthomas15@radford.edu
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
706 Fairfax, C104
540-831-5028

Ph.D. University of Missouri - Kansas City


Courses taught
: Introduction to Religion, Survey of World Religions, Sacred Texts of the West, Exploring the Old Testament, Exploring the New Testament

Teaching interests: If you want classes about the Bible, I am your man! My biblical studies repertoire at Radford University includes Exploring the Old Testament and Exploring the New Testament. Both these classes are thematic in nature and include discussion of topics like family, gender, power, body image, sex, and social class (among many others) as they are represented in the Bible. You don't want to miss my topics courses, which include The Bible and Cultural Criticism and the Horrible and the Monstrous in the Old Testament! The Bible and Cultural Criticism explores the representation of the Bible in popular culture as well as examining the appropriation strategies of various readers. The Horrible and the Monstrous in the Old Testament not only analyzes the Bible's monsters (Goliath, Levianthan, etc.), but also those people and entities that do horrible things (including rape, murder, genocide, etc.) in the Bible.

I also teach Sacred Texts of the West, which includes (in one semester) a brief survey of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur'an. If you need a Qur'anic fix, this is the place to be. We also have a good time exploring a variety of religions in Survey of World Religions (including Hinduism and Buddhism) while in Introduction to Religion, I will tickle your brain, and sometimes shock you, as we explore the concept of religion.

Research interests: My research interests focus upon the monstrous in the Bible as well as appropriations of Bible themes in various religious traditions. In other words, I write about really cool stuff! Interested in year 2012 speculation? Look for my forthcoming article in the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture titled "Meme Splicing Genesis 6:1-4 and the Apocalypse of 2012. I also recently guest edited a recent special issue of Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions devoted to ETI-religions (commonly known as UFO cults). My contribution to this issue, "Revisionism in ET-Inspired Religions" looks at the ways in which ETI Religions appropriate biblical themes.

Hobbies and outside interests: So, what am I doing if I am not teaching about monsters or reading about monsters? Most likely, hiking! I am an avid naturalist and am firmly convinced that my time in the outdoors keeps me sane (and healthy). Check out my website, Ridgetop Ramblin' to read about my outdoors adventures.
 

Dr. Carter Turner

Carter Turner

cturner5@radford.edu
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Ph.D. Iliff School of Theology, University of Denver

Courses taught: Introduction to Religion, Survey of World Religions, Religion and Culture, and Religion and American Nationalism

Bio and Research Interests: Dr. Carter Turner is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Radford University.  A native of Virginia, Dr. Turner has a history degree from Virginia Tech, and earned a Ph.D. in religious and theological studies from the University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology.  He teaches and writes on religion and the American Civil War, religion and sports, and religion and politics, and is currently working on a book exploring the implications of America’s “God gap” - where large segments of our population disagree about the existence and nature of God and his role in the world.  Dr. Turner has run for political office in Roanoke County where he lives with his wife Karen and their thirteen year-old daughter, Callaway.



Dr. Russel Gregory

rgregory@radford.edu
Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies
Ph.D. Vanderbilt University

Courses taught: Old Testament, Biblical Hebrew, World Religions, Introduction to Religion