I am a religion professor at Wofford College, but my real vocational goal is to play in the NHL. Don’t tell anyone, but I chose to teach at Wofford so that I could live in the Mecca of hockey, Spartanburg, SC. (Detroit might be “Hockeytown,” but South Carolina is Hockeystate...obviously.) This website isn’t about my hockey aspirations, however (I’ll wait till ESPN.com builds me a player-profile page). This site is about my religion gig. I’ve been teaching full time at Wofford since 2005 in a relatively new area in the academic study of religion, something that goes by the not-so-descriptive name of “Lived Religion.” Here, in the Religion Department at Wofford, we call this area “Religion and Culture” -- a title that may not clarify anything, but it at least sounds more legit. Religion and Culture (or Lived Religion) examines the diverse ways that people from all walks of life live out their faith -- whether in concert with “official” religious institutions and authorities or not. Religion and Culture shifts focus from the great religious traditions -- Catholicism and Protestantism, Sunni and Shia, Reform and Orthodox, Theravada and Mahayana, Vaishnavite and Shaivite -- toward what Robert Orsi calls “a study of how particular people, in particular places and times, live in, with, through, and against the religious idioms available to them in culture.” Shorthand: it’s a “materialist phenomenology of religion” (Orsi).
If you’re still reading, you’re still probably confused about what Religion and Culture is. Take a look at the courses I teach. These might give you a better sense. Whether I’m teaching about religious people who practice plural marriage, or devout people of faith who commit murder in the name of God, or online religious communities, or death rituals performed to ensure a good afterlife, most of my courses firmly focus on the interesting, complex, and fluid ways that people live out their faith in the contemporary world.
This webpage will introduce you to all sorts of things related to my teaching: the courses I teach (interim and independent studies included), interesting student projects, and my CV. In case you’re looking for a good novel, TV show, movie, or song -- and your tastes are similar to mine -- I’ve also included a page of recommendations. The two most important pages, however, are the following: one devoted to the Faculty/Staff intramural teams that I’ve captained over the years; and one devoted to Mr. Canada, my pro wrestling alter-ego, to the right (did I mention that I’m also a professional wrester with a career record of 0-1?).
Above: In class; students enthralled (at least that's how I interpret it...)
Right: Fieldtrip; students happy not to be in class.
Others: Pictures of things I teach about + Mr. Canada