My teaching interests encompass: Religion and Medicine, Ancient/Medieval/Early Modern Christianity, Christology, Bonaventure and Medieval Franciscan thought, Indigenous American Religion and Healing Traditions, Biomedical Ethics, Medical History, and of course, Leprosy (Hansen’s disease).
I currently have a full-time postdoctoral appointment as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Chicago in both the Divinity School and the College. The appointment entails teaching courses of my own design in the University of Chicago’s Undergraduate Program in Religious Studies. This includes my course, RLST 26302 “Religion, Medicine, and the Experience of Illness,” (cross-listed as HIPS 26312, SOCI 20542, HLTH 26302, KNOW 26302, HIST 24923, CCTS 21012) which introduces students to a diverse array of literature and case studies while investigating how religious traditions furnish an explanatory reservoir for what I term the “three C’s” or questions of causation, coping, and curing vis-à-vis the experience of illness. In the coming quarters I will also teach “Neighboring Faiths, Interreligious Medicine” which examines medieval interactions among Muslims, Christians, and Jews through a focus on debates over medical authorities and practices; as well as “Medieval and Early Modern Indigeneity.” Within the Division of Social Sciences, I am teaching sections of “Global Society” and “Self, Culture, and Society” (both with a focus on global health studies) as part of the College’s Common Core curriculum.
I am the current recipient of a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Professional Development Grant which will permit me to further incorporate postcolonial studies and indigenous sources into my teaching. This includes working within the Newberry Library’s Edward E. Ayer Collection on American Indian and Indigenous Studies. I am proud to have been a part of the first cohort of Divinity School Inclusive Pedagogy Fellows. The Inclusive Pedagogy Fellows are a select group of Divinity School PhD students working together to learn best practices for teaching college students. This important work is funded by the Provost’s office and the Divinity School’s Craft of Teaching program. I am also excited to say that I was an Alma Wilson Teaching Fellow for the 2019-2020 academic year. The Alma Wilson Lectureship is an opportunity for one or two graduate students from the Divinity School to teach a course of his or her own design in the University of Chicago’s Undergraduate Program in Religious Studies. I used that lectureship to teach the first iteration of my “Religion, Medicine, and Illness” course. I am always grateful for the opportunity to teach this subject matter (that I am thoroughly enamored with) and to work with the brilliant University of Chicago undergrads.
Recently, I worked as a teaching assistant to Professor Russell Johnson for his undergraduate course, “Star Wars and Religion.” The University of Chicago actually composed a profile on this innovative course (https://news.uchicago.edu/story/force-strong-one-course-uses-star-wars-examine-religion). During the course, I lectured on The Life of Martin of Tours by Sulpicius Severus, explaining the significance of hagiography and the cult of saints for medieval Christians and problematizing the traditional understanding of saints first outlined by Émile Durkheim.
While a graduate student at the University of Chicago Divinity School, I have lectured on Beguine Theology (Marie D’Oignies, Christina Mirabilis, Hadewijch) in the course, “History of Christian Thought II (450-1350 CE). I also spoke on Dermatological Issues in the Bible for the course, “Disease and Disability in the Bible.” During my time as an undergraduate at Truman State University I served as a co-instructor with Professor Dereck Daschke for the course, “Religion and Film.” The course was actually of my own design; I created the course syllabus, in addition to organizing a Religion and Film Festival, as a Student Initiated Learning Course.
Featured Image: Watercolor by Richard Tennant Cooper (1885-1957) (courtesy Wikimedia Commons)