Religious Studies Program
University of Minnesota
245 Nicholson Hall
216 Pillsbury Drive S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
This site provides information about me, the courses I teach, and some additional resources for the study of Religion.
Research and Teaching Interests
My research and teaching interests focus broadly on the history of religion in the United States. I am particularly interested in illuminating the relationships between the religious ideas and practices of specific groups and the cultural contexts that shape and influence those ideas and practices. In particular, I am interested in how ideas about gender are negotiated between cultural and religious contexts, how community identity is negotiated, and how theological understandings are influence by the broader culture.
Much of my research has done this through the study of religious space and buildings. I am interested in the ways in which religious space functions as constitutive components of religious practice and experience. How spaces contribute to (articulate, maintain, challenge) religious ideas. Because the process of building is eminently social and cultural, architecture provides substantive information on the relationships between religious groups and their social and cultural contexts. Buildings provide us with information on congregational ideas about theology and ritual, as well as gender, community, education, music, and popular culture. Religious buildings and spaces, in my view, are they are among the central building blocks of religion itself.
For more about my academic background, click here.
Sacred Power, Sacred Space: An Introduction to Christian Architecture. New York: Oxford University Press, Author, 2008.
When Church Became Theatre: The Transformation of Evangelical Architecture and Worship in Nineteenth-Century America. New York: Oxford University Press. Paperback edition, Oxford University Press, Author, 2005.