Sara Alpern received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park, M.A. from U.C.L.A., and B.A. from Western Reserve University. She specializes in U. S. Women’s History, Biography, and late 19th and 20th Century U. S. History. Her research interests and publications within those fields include biographies, the history of women in business (including Jewish women in business), Jewish women in U. S. history, the effects of woman suffrage, and health issues of women. She just completed a Foreword for the recently published Pioneer Jewish Texans by Natalie Ornish. While Alpern’s courses in U. S. Women’s History include information on Jewish women, she is interested in developing a specialized course on Jewish women in U. S. history. She has been a member of the Religious Studies Program Review Committee through its many iterations over the years and has recently been accepted into the revitalized Religious Studies program.
Olga Dror has worked on religious traditions in China and Vietnam, with particular emphasis on popular beliefs: how do they originate, why some of them develop, while others pass into oblivion, do those beliefs pertain only to the religious domain – these are only few examples of the questions she is interested in. Being interested in transnational interactions, she has also explored missionary activities in China and Vietnam, focusing on missionaries’ perceptions of the local religious and philosopical currents: Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and popular religions.
Side Emre researches and teaches the history of Islam, Islamic culture(s) and civilizations, and Islamic mystical traditions in medieval and early modern Near East, North Africa and the Mediterranean. This also includes careers of Sufis, Sufi brotherhoods and orders, their doctrines, rituals, literature, and cultures in a historical context, covering mostly the geographical extent of the Ottoman Empire. (My time-line in teaching is ca. 500-2011 C.E. and for research, it is ca. 1400-1600 C.E.) I don’t necessarily focus on the “timeless and essential qualities” in any given Sufi order or mystical tradition. Therefore my preferred methodological approach is that of an historian of Sufism rather than a scholar of religious studies and Sufism. In particular, I focus on the nexus of politics and religion, with its mystical dimensions, in the medieval and early modern Near East and North Africa. For the course I want to teach on Islam and Islamic mystical traditions, I want to go out of my usual comfort zone–political history– and focus instead on literature, culture and visual arts (calligraphic and illustrative) related to Islam and Islamic mystical traditions.
Felipe Hinojosa earned his Ph.D. from the University of Houston in 2009 and began teaching at Texas A&M University that same year. His teaching and research interests include Latina/o history, religion, comparative race and ethnicity, gender, and social movements. He is particularly interested in how Latina/o religious identities and cultures have operated within discourses of power and how they have helped shape cultural, political, and faith-informed activism in twentieth century America. In 2010 he was awarded a “First Book Grant for Minority Scholars” from the Louisville Institute and is currently working on his manuscript titled, “Quiet Riots: Faith, Activism, and Identity Among Latina/o Mennonites, 1932-1982.”
Angela Pulley Hudson studies and teaches American Indian ethnohistory, with an emphasis on populations indigenous to the U.S. South. Her research has involved investigations of southeastern Indian belief systems and their relationship to diplomacy, mobility, and geography in the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition, she conducts research on the relationship of European-American religious beliefs and American Indian peoples.
John Lenihan is a cultural historian who includes religious thought in his teaching of modern U. S. cultural-intellectual history and has taught a special-topics course on film and Christianity. His research addresses cinematic representations of religion in the ancient world in Hollywood epics that were particularly fashionable and politically nuanced in the 1950s.
Rebecca Hartkopf Schloss studies and teaches the history of the Atlantic World and modern Europe, with a particular interest in how racial, class, gender and national identities intersect in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth-centuries. Her first project Sweet Liberty: The Final Days of Slavery in Martinique (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) explores the relationship between the French Caribbean island of Martinique and continental France from 1802-1848 and included an examination of how government sponsored schools run by male and female religious orders helped buttress white political and social power on the island. Her current project examines connections among French Atlantic port cities in the Age of Empire, and the role of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Saint Louis, Senegal, Cayenne, French Guiana, and Bordeaux, France. She earned her Ph.D. from Duke University in 2003 and has held fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, the American Historical Association, and the Collaborative Research Group for the Study of the Global South.
Daniel Schwartz studies religion in the late Roman period, teaches History of Christianity, and includes significant discussions of religion in courses on World History and the Roman Empire. He would also like to propose courses on the History of Byzantium and the Crusades, both of which would include substantial discussion of religious material. His research interests include the development of Christianity as an imperial religion, the process of conversion within that context, the role of ritual performance in the spread of religion, the early Christian reception of classical “pagan” education, and the role of religious violence in Late Antiquity.