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DU/Iliff Joint PhD Program in the Study of Religion

Prospective Students

Program & Faculty Strengths

For students who enter the program after fall 2015

Program Strengths for In-depth Study

Like any PhD program, the JDP has resources to offer specialized study in a limited number of subject areas. The strengths of JDP faculty determine the most productive opportunities for study and for directed research, such as dissertation projects. Students are encouraged to read faculty publications as they explore the academic areas of strength listed below.

Bible, Ancient Judaism, Early Christianity

Pamela Eisenbaum

Pamela Eisenbaum

Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins
Iliff School of Theology

Specializations: Paul; Epistle to the Hebrews; Jewish-Christian relations; biblical manuscripts; history of biblical interpretation; formation of the canon; the Bible and technology; comparative scripture

Publications:

      • Paul Was Not a Christian: The Original Message of a Misunderstood Apostle  (HarperOne, 2009)

Courses:
Formation of the Bible
New Testament Language and Text
Epistle to the Romans

Professional Label:  Biblical Studies; Early Judaism; New Testament and Christian Origins

Amy Erickson

Amy Erickson

Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible
Iliff School of Theology

Specializations: Poetry and metaphor (Hebrew Bible); history of biblical interpretation; religion and the body

Publications:

  • “God’s Birthing and Begetting Body in Job 38:28-30,” in Imagination, Ideology and Inspiration: Reverberations of Brueggemann in a New Generation, eds. Robert Williamson, Jr. and Jonathan Kaplan (Sheffield Phoenix Press, forthcoming)
  • “Jonah and the Scribal Habitus,” in Methods, Theories, Imagination: Social Scientific Approaches in Biblical Studies, eds. David J. Chalcraft, Frauke Uhlenbruch, and Rebecca S. Watson (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014)
  • “‘Without My Flesh I Will See God’: Job’s Rhetoric of the Body,” Journal of Biblical Literature  132.2 (2013): 295-313

Courses:
Identity and the Hebrew Bible
The Body and Sexuality in the Ancient Near East and Hebrew Bible
Jonah and Its Afterlives

Professional Label:  Hebrew Bible

Mark George

Mark K. George

Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible
Iliff School of Theology

Specializations: Hebrew Bible; spatial studies; critical theory; aniconism; religion and political theory

Publications:

  • Religious Representation in Place: Exploring Meaningful Space and the Intersection of the Humanities and Sciences, ed. with Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati, Religion and Spatial Studies 1 (Palgrave, 2014)
  • “Israelite Aniconism and the Visualization of the Tabernacle,” Journal of Religion & Society Supplement Series  8 (2012): 40-54
  • Israel’s Tabernacle as Social Space, Society of Biblical Literature Ancient Israel and Its Literature 2 (SBL Press, 2009)

Courses:
Sacred Space in Comparative Perspective (with Jacob Kinnard)
Deuteronomy
Methods and Theories of Biblical Interpretation

Professional Label:  Hebrew Bible

Sarah Pessin

Sarah Pessin

Professor of Philosophy and Judaic Studies
Department of Philosophy
Center for Judaic Studies
 
Specializations: Comparative Greek, Jewish, Islamic, and Christian Neoplatonisms; post-Holocaust theology (esp. Levinas); Jewish philosophy; philosophical theology; philosophy of religion
 
Courses:
Jewish Philosophy
Levinas
Neoplatonism
Maimonides
Philosophy of Religion
Religious Existentialism
Medieval Philosophy (Islamic, Jewish, Christian)
 
Professional Label: Comparative Neoplatonisms; Jewish Philosophy; Comparative Medieval Philosophy; Philosophical Theology; Post-Holocaust Theology; Levinas
Greg Robbins

Gregory Allen Robbins

Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Religious Studies

Specializations: Ancient Christianity; New Testament; Christian origins; history of Christianity; Christian studies; religion and film

Publications:

  • “‘Number Determinate Is Kept Concealed’ (Dante, Paradiso XXX.135): Eusebius and the Transformation of the List (Hist. eccl. 3.25),” Studia Patristica LXVI.14 (Leuven: Peeters, 2013): 181-90
  • Genesis 1-3 in the History of Exegesis: Intrigue in the Garden, Studies in Women and Religion 27 (Edwin Mellen Press, 1988)
  • Exploring the New Testament, with John Tully Carmody and Denise Lardner Carmody (Prentice-Hall, 1986)

Courses:
Christianity
Christian Classics
Jesus on the Silver Screen

Professional Label: New Testament; Christian Origins; Ancient Christianity

Alison Schofield

Alison Schofield, Ph.D., University of Notre Dame 

University of Denver, Department of Religious Studies - Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible and Judaic studies

Eric Smith

Eric Smith, Ph.D., Iliff School of Theology and the University of Denver

Iliff School of Theology, Visiting Assistant Professor of the History of Christianity and New Testament Studies


Religion, Art, and Media

Rafael Fajardo

Rafael Fajardo, MFA, Rhode Island School of Design

University of Denver, Emergent Digital Practices - Associate Professor and Undergraduate Director

Mark George

Mark K. George

Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible
Iliff School of Theology

Specializations: Hebrew Bible; spatial studies; critical theory; aniconism; religion and political theory

Publications:

  • Religious Representation in Place: Exploring Meaningful Space and the Intersection of the Humanities and Sciences, ed. with Daria Pezzoli-Olgiati, Religion and Spatial Studies 1 (Palgrave, 2014)
  • “Israelite Aniconism and the Visualization of the Tabernacle,” Journal of Religion & Society Supplement Series  8 (2012): 40-54
  • Israel’s Tabernacle as Social Space, Society of Biblical Literature Ancient Israel and Its Literature 2 (SBL Press, 2009)

Courses:
Sacred Space in Comparative Perspective (with Jacob Kinnard)
Deuteronomy
Methods and Theories of Biblical Interpretation

Professional Label:  Hebrew Bible

Annabeth Headrick

Annabeth Headrick, Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

University of Denver, School of Art and Art History - Associate Professor of Precolumbian Art

Jacob Kinnard

Jacob Kinnard, Ph.D., University of Chicago 

Iliff School of Theology - Associate Professor of Comparative Religious Thought

Jeffrey Mahan

Jeffrey H. Mahan

Professor of Ministry, Media and Culture
Ralph E. and Norma E. Peck Chair in Religion and Public Communication
Iliff School of Theology

Specializations: Media, religion and culture; religion and film, religion and popular culture

Publications:

  • Media, Religion and Culture: An Introduction (Routledge, London, 2014)
  • Religion and Popular Culture in America (2nd ed.), with Bruce David Forbes (Berkeley, 2005)

Courses:
Theories of Religion and Media
Religion and Film
Religion and Popular Culture

Professional Label: Religion and Society

Laleh Mehran

Laleh Mehran, MFA, Carnegie Mellon University

University of Denver, Emergent Digital Practices - Associate Professor and Graduate Director

Scott Montgomery

Scott Montgomery, Ph.D., Rutgers University 

University of Denver, School of Art and Art History - Associate Professor of Medieval and Early Modern European Art

Greg Robbins

Gregory Allen Robbins

Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Religious Studies

Specializations: Ancient Christianity; New Testament; Christian origins; history of Christianity; Christian studies; religion and film

Publications:

  • “‘Number Determinate Is Kept Concealed’ (Dante, Paradiso XXX.135): Eusebius and the Transformation of the List (Hist. eccl. 3.25),” Studia Patristica LXVI.14 (Leuven: Peeters, 2013): 181-90
  • Genesis 1-3 in the History of Exegesis: Intrigue in the Garden, Studies in Women and Religion 27 (Edwin Mellen Press, 1988)
  • Exploring the New Testament, with John Tully Carmody and Denise Lardner Carmody (Prentice-Hall, 1986)

Courses:
Christianity
Christian Classics
Jesus on the Silver Screen

Professional Label: New Testament; Christian Origins; Ancient Christianity

Lynn Schofield Clark

Lynn Schofield Clark

Professor and Chair
Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies

Specializations: Media; religion and culture; ethnography; community engaged research; social sciences and religion; journalism; U.S. families and digital media

Publications:

  • The Parent App: Understanding Families in a Digital Age (Oxford University Press, 2014)
  • Religion, Media and the Marketplace (Rutgers University Press, 2007)
  • From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Courses:
Qualitative Research Methods

Professional Label: Critical/Cultural Media Studies; Media, Religion, and Culture

Andrea Stanton

Andrea L. Stanton

Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies
Department of Religious Studies

Specializations: Media and politics; Middle Eastern history

Publications:

  • “Celebrating Muhammad’s Birthday in the Middle East,” in Identity Discourses and Communities in International Events, Festivals, and Spectacles (Palgrave, 2014)
  • “Islamic Emoticons: Pious Sociability and Community Building in Online Muslim Communities,” in Internet and Emotions, eds. Tova Benski and Eran Fisher (Routledge, 2013)
  • “‘Part of Imperial Communications’: British-Governed Radio in the Middle East, 1934-1949,” Journal of Media History 19.4 (2013): 421-35
  • This Is Jerusalem Calling: State Broadcasting in Mandate Palestine (University of Texas Press, 2013)

Courses:
Contemporary Islam
Qur’an and Hadith
Islamic Fundamentalisms

Professional Label: Islamic Studies

Annette Stott

Annette Stott

Professor of Art History
School of Art and Art History

Specializations: History of American art and religions

Publications:

  • Pioneer Cemeteries: Sculpture Gardens of the Old West  (University of Nebraska Press, 2008)
  • Holland Mania: The Unknown Dutch Period in American Art and Culture  (Overlook, 1998)

Courses:                    
Graduate Seminar on Spirituality in Modern and Contemporary Art
American Art and Religion

Professional Label:  Art History; American Art and Religion

Jere Surber

Jere Surber

Professor and Chair
Department of Philosophy

Specializations: Religion in German Idealism and Romanticism; phenomenology of religion; religion and postmodernity; culture theory and the critique of religion

Publications:

  • What Is Philosophy? Embodiment, Signification, Ideality (re.press, 2014)
  • Metacritique: The Linguistic Assault on German Idealism (Humanity Books, 2001)
  • Culture and Critique: An Introduction to the Discourses of Cultural Critique (Westview Press, 1997)

Courses:
Kant and Religion
Cultural Theory and Critique Colloquium
Philosophy Colloquium
Religion and Postmodernity

Professional Label: Critical Studies; Theory of Religion; Methods of Religion; Philosophy of Religion; Arts, Literature, and Religion


Religion, Race, and Ethnicity

Antony Alumkal

Antony Alumkal

Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion
Iliff School of Theology

Specializations: Race and religion; American evangelicalism; American mainline Protestantism

Publications:

  • “Racial Justice in the Protestant Mainline: Liberalism and Its Limits,” in Faith and Race in American Political Life, eds. Robin Jacobson and Nancy Wadsworth (University of Virginia Press, 2012)
  • “American Evangelicalism in the Post-Civil Rights Era: A Racial Formation Theory Analysis,” Sociology of Religion  65 (2004): 195-213

Courses:
Race and Religion in the United States
Science and the Christian Right

Professional Label:  Sociology of Religion

Edward Antonio

Edward P. Antonio , Ph.D., Cambridge University 

Iliff School of Theology - Harvey H. Potthoff Associate Professor of Christian Theology, and Social Theory, Associate Dean of Diversities

Richard Clemmer-Smith

Richard O. Clemmer-Smith

Professor
Department of Anthropology

Specializations: 19th- and 20th-century Native American resistance movements with ideological components referred to as “religious”; indigenous worldviews referencing subsistence, economy, and environmental issues

Publications:

  • “‘A Carnival of Promiscuous Carnal Indulgence’: Bureaucrats’ Ambivalence in Reconciling Capitalist Production with Native American Habitus,” Dialectical Anthropology 33.1 (2009): 51-70
  • “Ideology and Identity: Western Shoshoni ‘Cannibal Myth’ as Ethno-National Narrative,” in Numic Mythologies: Anthropological Perspectives in the Great Basin and Beyond, ed. L. Daniel Myers (Boise State University, 2006)
  • “‘. . . Then will you rise and strike my head from my neck’: Hopi Prophecy and the Discourse of Empowerment,” American Indian Quarterly 19.1(1995): 31-73

Courses:
Visions, Utopias and Messiahs
Indigenous Environments

Professional Label: Environmental Anthropology; Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Miguel De La Torre

Miguel A. De La Torre

Professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies
Iliff School of Theology

Specializations: Liberation theology; critical race theory; gender studies

Publications:

  • Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins (2nd ed.; Orbis Books, 2014)
  • Genesis: Belief, A Theological Commentary on the Bible  (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011)
  • Encyclopedia on Hispanic American Religious Culture, Vols. 1 and 2 (ABC-CLIO Publishers, 2009)

Courses:
Fanon, Foucault, and Friends
Formative White Male Figures in Christian Ethics
Biblical Ethics

Professional Label:  Ethics

Ginette Ishimatsu

Ginette Ishimatsu, Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley 

University of Denver, Department of Religious Studies - Chair of the Religious Studies Department and Associate Professor of Hindu studies

Luis Leon

Luís León, Ph.D., University of California-Santa Barbara

University of Denver, Department of Religious Studies - Assistant Professor

Debora Ortega

Debora Ortega, Ph.D., University of Washington

University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work - Assiciate Professor, and Director, University of Denver Latino Center for Community Engagement and Scholarship

George ‘Tink’ Tinker

George "Tink" Tinker, Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union

Iliff School of Theology, Clifford Baldridge - Professor of American Indian Cultures, and Religious Traditions

Ted Vial

Ted Vial, Ph.D., University of Chicago 

Iliff School of Theology - Associate Professor of Theology

Barbara Wilcots

Barbara Wilcots, Ph.D., University of Denver 

University of Denver, Department of English - Associate Professor and Associate Provost for Graduate Studies


Religion and Its Publics (U.S. and International)

Edward Antonio

Edward P. Antonio , Ph.D., Cambridge University 

Iliff School of Theology - Harvey H. Potthoff Associate Professor of Christian Theology, and Social Theory, Associate Dean of Diversities

Miguel De La Torre

Miguel A. De La Torre

Professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies
Iliff School of Theology

Specializations: Liberation theology; critical race theory; gender studies

Publications:

  • Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins (2nd ed.; Orbis Books, 2014)
  • Genesis: Belief, A Theological Commentary on the Bible  (Westminster John Knox Press, 2011)
  • Encyclopedia on Hispanic American Religious Culture, Vols. 1 and 2 (ABC-CLIO Publishers, 2009)

Courses:
Fanon, Foucault, and Friends
Formative White Male Figures in Christian Ethics
Biblical Ethics

Professional Label:  Ethics

Carl Raschke

Carl A. Raschke, Ph.D., Harvard University 

ProfessorUniversity of Denver, Department of Religious Studies
Lynn Schofield Clark

Lynn Schofield Clark

Professor and Chair
Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies

Specializations: Media; religion and culture; ethnography; community engaged research; social sciences and religion; journalism; U.S. families and digital media

Publications:

  • The Parent App: Understanding Families in a Digital Age (Oxford University Press, 2014)
  • Religion, Media and the Marketplace (Rutgers University Press, 2007)
  • From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Courses:
Qualitative Research Methods

Professional Label: Critical/Cultural Media Studies; Media, Religion, and Culture

Andrea Stanton

Andrea L. Stanton

Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies
Department of Religious Studies

Specializations: Media and politics; Middle Eastern history

Publications:

  • “Celebrating Muhammad’s Birthday in the Middle East,” in Identity Discourses and Communities in International Events, Festivals, and Spectacles (Palgrave, 2014)
  • “Islamic Emoticons: Pious Sociability and Community Building in Online Muslim Communities,” in Internet and Emotions, eds. Tova Benski and Eran Fisher (Routledge, 2013)
  • “‘Part of Imperial Communications’: British-Governed Radio in the Middle East, 1934-1949,” Journal of Media History 19.4 (2013): 421-35
  • This Is Jerusalem Calling: State Broadcasting in Mandate Palestine (University of Texas Press, 2013)

Courses:
Contemporary Islam
Qur’an and Hadith
Islamic Fundamentalisms

Professional Label: Islamic Studies

Katherine Turpin

Katherine Turpin, Ph.D., Emory University 

Iliff School of Theology - Associate Professor of Religious Education

Ted Vial

Ted Vial, Ph.D., University of Chicago 

Iliff School of Theology - Associate Professor of Theology


Theories of Religion

Pamela Eisenbaum

Pamela Eisenbaum

Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Origins
Iliff School of Theology

Specializations: Paul; Epistle to the Hebrews; Jewish-Christian relations; biblical manuscripts; history of biblical interpretation; formation of the canon; the Bible and technology; comparative scripture

Publications:

  • Paul Was Not a Christian: The Original Message of a Misunderstood Apostle  (HarperOne, 2009)

Courses:
Formation of the Bible
New Testament Language and Text
Epistle to the Romans

Professional Label:  Biblical Studies; Early Judaism; New Testament and Christian Origins

Jacob Kinnard

Jacob Kinnard, Ph.D., University of Chicago 

Iliff School of Theology - Associate Professor of Comparative Religious Thought

Sarah Pessin

Sarah Pessin

Professor of Philosophy and Judaic Studies
Department of Philosophy
Center for Judaic Studies
 
Specializations: Comparative Greek, Jewish, Islamic, and Christian Neoplatonisms; post-Holocaust theology (esp. Levinas); Jewish philosophy; philosophical theology; philosophy of religion
 
Courses:
Jewish Philosophy
Levinas
Neoplatonism
Maimonides
Philosophy of Religion
Religious Existentialism
Medieval Philosophy (Islamic, Jewish, Christian)
 
Professional Label: Comparative Neoplatonisms; Jewish Philosophy; Comparative Medieval Philosophy; Philosophical Theology; Post-Holocaust Theology; Levinas
Carl Raschke

Carl A. Raschke, Ph.D., Harvard University 

ProfessorUniversity of Denver, Department of Religious Studies
Naomi Reshotko

Naomi Reshotko

Professor
Department of Philosophy

Specializations: Ancient Greek philosophy; philosophy of mind; metaphysics; epistemology

Publications:

  • “Plato on the Ordinary Person and the Forms,” Apeiron 47.2 (2014): 266-92
  • “Socratic Eudaimonism,” in The Bloomsbury Companion to Socrates, eds. J. Bussanich and N. Smith (Continuum, 2013)
  • Socratic Virtue: Making the Best of the Neither-Good-Nor-Bad (Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Courses:
Plato’s Metaphysics
Great Thinkers: Aristotle
Socratic Ethics

Professional Label: Ancient Philosophy

Jere Surber

Jere Surber

Professor and Chair
Department of Philosophy

Specializations: Religion in German Idealism and Romanticism; phenomenology of religion; religion and postmodernity; culture theory and the critique of religion

Publications:

  • What Is Philosophy? Embodiment, Signification, Ideality (re.press, 2014)
  • Metacritique: The Linguistic Assault on German Idealism (Humanity Books, 2001)
  • Culture and Critique: An Introduction to the Discourses of Cultural Critique (Westview Press, 1997)

Courses:
Kant and Religion
Cultural Theory and Critique Colloquium
Philosophy Colloquium
Religion and Postmodernity

Professional Label: Critical Studies; Theory of Religion; Methods of Religion; Philosophy of Religion; Arts, Literature, and Religion

Ted Vial

Ted Vial, Ph.D., University of Chicago 

Iliff School of Theology - Associate Professor of Theology


Religion and Human Experience

Sandra Dixon

Sandra L. Dixon , Ph.D., University of Chicago

University of Denver, Department of Religious Studies - Associate Professor of Psychology of Religion

Carrie Doehring

Carrie Doehring

Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling
Iliff School of Theology

Specializations: Pastoral theology; intercultural spiritual care; trauma from psychological and theological perspectives; spiritually integrated care and counseling

Publications:

  • The Practice of Pastoral Care: A Postmodern Approach (Revised and expanded ed., Westminster John Knox, 2015)
  • “Emotions and Change in Intercultural Spiritual Care,” Pastoral Psychology 63.5 (2014): 583-96
  • “An Applied Integrative Approach to Exploring How Religion and Spirituality Contribute To or Counteract Prejudice and Discrimination,” in APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality Vol. 2: An Applied Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, eds. K. I. Pargament, A. Mahoney, and E. Shafranske (American Psychological Association, 2013)

Courses:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Pastoral, Psychological, and Theological Responses
Theodicy and Tragedy

Professional Label: Pastoral Care; Practical/Praxis Theology; Social Sciences and Religion

Andrea Stanton

Andrea L. Stanton

Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies
Department of Religious Studies

Specializations: Media and politics; Middle Eastern history

Publications:

  • “Celebrating Muhammad’s Birthday in the Middle East,” in Identity Discourses and Communities in International Events, Festivals, and Spectacles (Palgrave, 2014)
  • “Islamic Emoticons: Pious Sociability and Community Building in Online Muslim Communities,” in Internet and Emotions, eds. Tova Benski and Eran Fisher (Routledge, 2013)
  • “‘Part of Imperial Communications’: British-Governed Radio in the Middle East, 1934-1949,” Journal of Media History 19.4 (2013): 421-35
  • This Is Jerusalem Calling: State Broadcasting in Mandate Palestine (University of Texas Press, 2013)

Courses:
Contemporary Islam
Qur’an and Hadith
Islamic Fundamentalisms

Professional Label: Islamic Studies

Katherine Turpin

Katherine Turpin, Ph.D., Emory University 

Iliff School of Theology - Associate Professor of Religious Education

Alumni Accomplishments

Alumni represent a significant strength of the JDP, both as an active professional network for current students, and as leaders in the creation of new knowledge.

Recent Dissertations

Students have successfully defended dissertations that demonstrate specialized knowledge as well as the interdisciplinary potential of the program. A few recent examples include:

  • Tyler Akers, “‘Fall’ and Redemption in the Thought of Martin Heidegger and Jacques Lacan”
  • Justin Barber,  "Citation Methodologies in Eusebius’ Historia ecclesiastica and Other Ancient Historiography”
  • Grace Chiou, "Feel-Good Generosity: the Mythic Construction of the Neoliberal Generosity in Millions"
  • Elizabeth Coody, "Imagining the Scandal of the Cross with Graphic/Novel Reading”
  • Mark Freehand, "Conceptual Decolonization of Space: Worldview and Language in Anishinaabe-Akiing"
  • Kerry Holton, “Schleiermacher’s Doctrine of Biblical Authority: An Alternative to Content-Based/Supernaturalist and Function-Based/Rationalist Models”
  • Catlyn Keenan, "Behind the Doors of White Supremacy"
  • Jacob Kines, "Setting the Captors Free: Soteriology in the Thought and Praxis of Martin Luther King, Jr."
  • Ryan Lokkesmoe, “Finding Onesimus: Recovering the Story of a First-Century Fugitive Slave”
  • Jared Nieft, "F.W.J. Schelling's Die Weltalter and Martin Heidegger's Sein und Zeit: Dasein, Technics and the Techno-Informational Origin of the Theoretical-Physical Universe"
  • Melissa Pula, "Rethinking the Community as Temple: Discourse and Spatial Practice in the Community Rule (1QS)"
  • Micah Saxton, "Scripture and Self in Origen's Exegetical Discourse(s)"
  • Christa Schwind, "Tracing an American Yoga: Identity and Cross-Cultural Transaction"