Religious Studies

  • collage of full time religious studies faculty

Faculty

Amanda Baugh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Amanda Baugh, Ph.D., Assistant ProfessorAmanda Baugh, Ph.D.

Office: Santa Susana Hall 237
Office Hours: Tu 2:00 - 3:00 PM, Th 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM
Phone: 818-677-4733
Email:

 

 

Biography

Amanda Baugh is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge and joined the department in 2012. Dr. Baugh received her PhD from Northwestern University’s Department of Religious Studies in 2012, and holds a MA from Northwestern University and a BA from Hendrix College.

Research and Teaching Interests

Amanda Baugh specializes in the study of religion and American culture, focusing on the intersections of religion and environmental concern. Her research explores power dynamics related to race, ethnicity, and class in the "greening" of American religion. She is revising her dissertation research, an ethnographic study of an interfaith environmental group in Chicago, into a book manuscript.

Dr. Baugh’s teaching interests include the study of religion and ecology, religion and American culture, and religious studies theory.

Memberships

  • Served as a co-chair for the Religion, Ecology, and Culture section of the Midwest American Academy of Religion.
  • Religion and Cities group steering committee, American Academy Religion.
  • International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture and the American Studies Association. 

Awards/Honors

2011-2012 Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship.

Phyllis Herman, Ph.D., Professor

Phyllis Herman, Ph.D.Phyllis Herman, Ph.D., Professor

Office: Santa Susana Hall 230
Office Hours: MoWe 11:00 AM -12:00 PM
Phone: 818-677-3925
Email:

 

 

Biography

Coordinator, Asian Studies Program

Dr. Phyllis K. Herman is a professor of Religious Studies at CSUN. A native Californian, she attended UCLA and attained her Ph.D. in the History of Religion. Her areas of concentration are South Asian religious traditions and women and religion.

Research and Teaching Interests 

She is co-editor of the book The Constant and Changing Face of the Goddess: Goddess Traditions in Asia. She has contributed chapters to several notable books and articles to many peer-reviewed journals on women and religion, Hindu ideas of kingship, nationalist and feminist theories, goddesses, Islam in India and has concentrated especially on the roles of food in ancient and modern women’s rituals. Her latest publication is in the Heidelberg Journal of Religions on the Internet and she is hoping to continue this new area of research into online worship in both India and in the South Asian Diaspora.

Memberships

American Academy of Religion

Linda Lam-Easton, Ph.D., Professor

Linda Lam-Easto, Ph.D.Linda Lam-Easton, Ph.D., Professor

Office: Santa Susana Hall 227
Office Hours: TuTh 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM and 3:20 PM - 3:50 PM
Phone: 818-677-3396
Email:

 

 

Biography

Dr. Lam-Easton is a Professor at California State University, Northridge and has taught in the department for more than twenty-five years. Before that she taught in New York, Michigan, Chicago, and Hong Kong. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1980 and 1973.

She has held several administrative positions in her years at CSUN including Associate Dean, Development Officer, Educational Equity Coordinator, Faculty Mentoring Coordinator in the College of Humanities and Director of the University-wide program the Comprehensive Learning Experience.

Research and Teaching Interests

In the last several years she has offered courses in Introduction to Religious Studies, World Religions, Native American Religions, Religion and Art, and Religion & Literature.

Currently in addition to the above courses she has concentrated on 204 Religion, Logic and the Media. For the department’s juniors she offers 395 Theory & Method in the Study of Religions: “On the Shoulders of Giants.”

In her own areas of expertise, Asian Religions, courses in Buddhism, Asian Religious Texts and Asian Religious Traditions were offered. Her specific areas of interest are in the religions of China (particularly Taoism) and the theoretical and methodological aspects of religious studies.

For the majors, minors, and students interested in the department Dr. Lam-Easton holds a weekly Student Forum [Latin forum the place of public discussion; an assembly for the discussion of current matters and questions]. This serves as a chance for students to help each other in course concerns, for open advisement, graduate school advice [tests, application advice, peer collaboration etc.], career counseling [including visits from alumni], “conversations” with Faculty, and organizing class visitations for recruitment and other department events.

Memberships

  • American Academy of Religion
  • Association for Asian Studies                                                             
  • American Oriental Society
  • Society for the Study of Chinese Religions                   
  • North American Association for the Study of Religion                                               
  • International Association for the History of Religions
  • Royal Asiatic Society-Hong Kong Branch

Kenneth Lee, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Kenneth Lee, Ph.D., Associate ProfessorKenneth Lee, Ph.D.

Office: Santa Susana Hall 230
Office Hours: TuTh 1:00 PM - 1:50 PM, Fri. ONLINE 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Phone: 818-677-2357
Email:

 

 

Biography

Kenneth Doo Young Lee is the Associate Professor of Asian Religions in the Department of Religious Studies.  Born in South Korea and raised in Los Angeles, Dr. Lee joined the California State University, Northridge faculty in the fall of 2006 to teach courses in Asian religions, Buddhism, and introductory courses in religion.

He earned his A.B. in Psychology from Occidental College, M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from Columbia University. His book, The Prince and the Monk: Shotoku Worship in Shinran's Buddhism, SUNY Press, traces the evolution of Shotoku worship in Japanese Buddhism.

Education

Ph.D., Columbia University, 2001

M.Phil.,Columbia University, 1997

Research and Teaching Interests 

He has published in a number of books, including a chapter, "Kannon: The Goddess of Compassion in Japan" in The Constant Changing Faces of the Goddess Traditions in Asia and journals, such as his article, “Comparative Analysis of Shinran's shinjin and Calvin's Faith" in the Buddhist-Christian Studies journal.  He is currently working on a translation of the Contemplation Sutra (Jpn. Kanmuryōjukyō), which is a major Buddhist text in Shin Buddhism.

Dr. Lee is also on the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Korean History and serves as the Chair of the Buddhist Studies session for the American Academy of Religion, Western Region.

Selected Publications

Books

The Prince and the Monk: Shōtoku Worship in Shinran’s Buddhism, State University of New York Press, 2007.

“Kannon: The Goddess of Compassion in Japan” in The Constant and Changing Faces of the Goddess: Goddess Traditions of Asia, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.

“The Most Venerable Sangwol: Reincarnation of Kwanseum in Korea,” International Conference of the Korean Buddhist Cheontae Order, Wongak Buddhist Research Institute, 2011.

Selected articles/reviews:

"Comparative Analysis of Shinran's shinjin and Calvin's Faith,” Buddhist-Christian Studies (Vol. 24, December 2004): 171-190.

“Heup Young Kim's Christ & the Tao,” Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (Bulletin 78, January 2007): 1-3.

“Monasticism Buddhist and Christian: The Korean Experience,” edited by Sunghae Kim and James W. Heising, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (Bulletin 82, January 2009).

Memberships

American Academy of Religion

Jody Myers, Ph.D., Professor

Jody Myers, Ph.D.Jody Myers, Ph.D., Professor

Office: Santa Susana Hall 231
Office Hours: Mo 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM, We 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Phone: 818-677-3007
Email:

 

 

Biography

Dr. Jody Myers is Professor of Religious Studies and Coordinator of the Jewish Studies Interdisciplinary Program at California State University, Northridge.  She was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and maintains a strong connection with her large, extended family there.  She received her B.A. at Brandeis University, her M.A. and Ph.D. in History at UCLA, and on-the-job training in Religious Studies when she joined CSUN’s Religious Studies Department in 1986.  She has written articles and books in the area of Jewish thought, history, and religious expression.  Dr. Myers' current research focuses on the Orthodox Jewish communities in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles, with particular focus on food practices. When not working, she is likely to be found gardening, cooking, on a study-trip in Poland, or dreaming about canoeing.

Education

Ph.D., History, University of California, Los Angeles, 1985.
M.A., History, University of California, Los Angeles, 1977.
B.A., cum laude, History, Brandeis University, 1975.

Research and Teaching Interests

Jewish culture and history, contemporary religious thought, American religious life, sustainability and nature.

Selected Publications

Books:

Kabbalah and the Spiritual Quest: The Kabbalah Centre in America (Praeger Publishers, 2007).

Seeking Zion: Modernity and Messianic Activism in the Writings of Zevi Hirsch Kalischer (Oxford and Portland, Oregon: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2003).

Selected Articles:

“Purity, Charity, Community: The Power of Kashrut in an Orthodox Jewish Neighborhood,” in Jewish Cultures and Identities:European vs. American Perspectives, Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pędich and Małgorzata Pakier, eds. (Peter Lang, in the series Warsaw Studies in Jewish History and Memory, forthcoming).

“Jewish Service-Learning Partnerships between Hillel and the Public University: A Case Study,” co-authored with Renée Cohen Goodwin, Journal of Jewish Communal Service, Vol. 87, (Winter/Spring 2012).

“Teaching Contemporary Israel through the Internet and Student Blogs” in Coping with Diversity: Language and Culture Education, eds. Hanna Komorowska and Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pędich (Academica, Warsaw, 2011).

“Kabbalah for the Gentiles: Diverse Souls and Universalism in Contemporary Kabbalah,” in Kabbalah and Spiritual Revival: Historical, Sociological and Cultural Perspectives, Boaz Huss, ed. (Ben-Gurion University Press, 2011).

“Phasing In: American Jewish Women’s Ritual Celebrations for the New Moon (Rosh Hodesh)”  in Women Remaking American Judaism, Riv-Ellen Prell, ed. (Wayne State University Press, 2007).

"The Myth of Matriarchy in Contemporary Jewish Women's Spiritual Writings," Jewish Social Studies, vol. 4, no. 1 (Fall, 1997).

"The Secret of Jewish Femininity: Hiddenness, Power, and Physicality in the Theology of Orthodox Women in the Contemporary World," in Gender and Judaism: The Transformation of Tradition, ed. T.M. Rudavsky, (New York University Press, 1995).  Co-authored with Jane Rachel Litman.

"Messianism and Zionist Ideologies," in Studies in Contemporary Jewry, volume VII (Oxford University Press, for the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1991).

Memberships

  • American Academy of Religion
  • American Historical Association
  • Association for Jewish Studies
  • Western Jewish Studies Association (Executive Board Member)

Awards/Honors

  • Fulbright Specialist at Warsaw University of Social Sciences and Humanities, 2012.
  • Schusterman Israel Institute Seminar, Fellowship, Summer 2008.
  • Faculty Fellows Grant, reassigned time for research, 2006.
  • Research and Sponsored Projects grant, CSUN, reassigned time for research, 2005.
  • Koret Jewish Studies Publications Program, 1999, publications stipend.
  • Dean's Faculty Research Fund, reassigned time for research, 1995-99.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend, 1991.
  • Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, academic year 1990-91, research fellowship.
  • Northridge Foundation Grant, spring, 1986 and 1989, reassigned time for research.

Mutombo Nkulu-N Sengha, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Mutombo Nkulu-N SenghaMutombo Nkulu-N Sengha

Office: Santa Susana Hall 228
Office Hours: We 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM, Fri. ONLINE 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Phone: 818-677-3395
Email:

 

Biography

Dr. Nkulu-N'Sengha is an Associate Professor at California State University, Northridge and joined the Religious Studies Department in 2003. Dr. Nkulu-N'Sengha teaches courses in African Religions, American's Religious Diversity, and comparative religions.

Mustafa Ruzgar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Mustafa Ruzgar, Ph.D.Mustafa Ruzgar, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Office: Santa Susana Hall 234
Office Hours: TuTh 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM. and Th 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Phone: 818-677-7779
Email:

 

 

Biography

Dr. Mustafa Ruzgar is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge. Born in Turkey, Dr. Ruzgar joined the department in 2009. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont Graduate University in 2008.

Education

Ph.D., Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Claremont Graduate University, CA, 2008.

M.A., Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Claremont Graduate University, CA, 2002.

B.A., Islamic Studies, Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey, 1997

Teaching and Research Interests

Dr. Ruzgar’s research interests include Islamic thought, contemporary philosophy of religion and theology, process philosophy and theology, religious pluralism, and interfaith dialogue.

Selected Publications

“Islam and Deep Religious Pluralism” in Deep Religious Pluralism, edited by David Ray Griffin (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005).

“Islam and Process Theology” in Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought, vol. 1, edited by Michel Weber and Will Desmond (Frankfurt; Paris; Lancaster; New Brunswick: Ontos Verlag, 2008).

“God and the World: A Dynamic Relationship in the Qur’an” in Creative Transformation, Volume 20, Numbers 3-4, Summer/Fall 2011.

“An Analysis of the Gülen Hizmet Movement’s Interfaith Dialogue Activities” in The Gülen Hizmet Movement: Circumspect Activism in Faith-Based Reform, edited by Tamer Balci and Christopher L. Miller, (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012).

“A Muslim Perspective: Theological Development and the Problem of Evil” in Process Thought and World Religions (tentative), edited by John B. Cobb, Jr. (forthcoming).

Memberships

American Academy of Religion

Rick Talbott, Ph.D., Professor

Rick Talbott, Ph.D.Rick Talbott, Ph.D., Professor

Office: Santa Susana Hall 239
Office Hours: TuTh 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM and 12:20 PM - 2:30 PM
Phone: 818-677-2741
Email:

 


Biography

Dr. Rick Talbott is professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions.  He received his PhD from the History Department at UCLA where he also taught such courses as Introduction to the History of Religions,The Buddha and Jesus,Ritual in Modern Scholarship, and The Historical Background of Early Christianity. Dr. Talbott received his B.A. from CSUN and where he has been teaching courses for the Department for over 20 years.  He became a full-time member of the faculty in 2006.

Dr. Talbott teaches the following lower division courses: Introduction to Religious Studies,  and The Bible.  His upper division courses include:  The New Testament, The Teaching of Jesus, Pauline Letters, Gnosticism.

Research and Teaching Interests

Dr. Talbott’s current research interests focus on how social memory and oral culture help us understand the eventual creation of the New Testament Gospels.  He continues to research how Ancient Mediterranean religious rituals and rhetoric functioned as part of the exercise of power in political and economic systems within the early Jesus movement.

Selected Publications

Jesus, Paul, and Power: Rhetoric, Ritual, and Metaphor in Ancient Mediterranean Christianity. Cascade Books, 2010.

“Imagining the Mattehean Eunuch Community: Kyriarchy on the Chopping Block.”  Journal of Feminist Studies, 2006.

“Nazareth’s Rebellious Son, BTB, 2008; “Jesus, Paul, and Power: Rhetoric, Ritual, and Metaphor in Ancient Mediterranean Christianity,” Cascade Books, 2010.

Book review of Maurice Casey’s “Jesus of Nazareth: An Independent Historian’s Account of His Life and Teaching,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 2012.

Memberships

  • American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature.
  • Co-editor with Professor Amir Hussain on a series of books the History of Religions for Wipf and Stock Publishers.
  • Member of the editorial board for the Journal of The American Academy of Religion.

Claire White, Ph.D. Assistant Professor

Claire White

 Claire White, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

 Office: Santa Susana Hall 236
 Office Hours: W  5PM -  7PM 
 Phone: 818-677-5640
 Email:                                                                                                    Website: http://clairejwhite.wix.com/clairenew

 


Biography

Dr White is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge and joined the Religious Studies Department in 2012. She holds the first appointment in 'The Cognitive Science of Religion' in a Religious Studies Department in the United States. She previously worked in Queen's University, Belfast and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge teaching religion and psychology from an interdisciplinary perspective. 

Dr. White earned her Ph.D. in Cognition and Culture in 2009 at Queen's University, Belfast, Ireland.

Research and Teaching Interests

Dr White adopts an interdisciplinary approach to religion, using the approaches of the evolutionary and cognitive sciences. Dr White also manages the 'Cognitive Science of Religion Student Lab Group'.

Selected Publications

White, C., & Fessler, M.T.(2013). Evolutionizing Grief: Viewing Photographs of the Deceased Predicts the Misattribution of Ambiguous Stimuli by the Bereaved.  Evolutionary Psychology, 11, 1084-1100.