Education Notes: Religion and Culture Experts

March 6, 2008

AUSTIN, Texas — Members of the Christian faith will celebrate Easter, one of the religion's most important holy days, March 23. Christianity scholars and historians at The University of Texas at Austin are available to discuss religion and culture from a variety of perspectives, from Jesus in popular culture to the origins of the Bible.

Jesus in Popular Culture

Howard Miller
Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor, Department of History
512-475-7212
hmiller@mail.utexas.edu

Miller studies the history of religion in America since 1800. He teaches courses such as "Religion in U.S. Popular Culture" and "Jesus in American Culture." His popular course, "Jesus in American Culture" is available online with full-length video recordings.

Early Christianity and the Gospel of Judas

L. Michael White
Ronald Nelson Smith Chair, Department of Classics;
Director, Institute for the Study of Antiquity and Christian Origins
512-232-1438
lmwhite@mail.utexas.edu

White is one of the nation's leading scholars of religion. He teaches courses such as "The Rise of Christianity" and "Jesus in History and Tradition." He is the author of "From Jesus to Christianity: How Four Generations of Visionaries and Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith." White has participated in archaeological excavations in Israel and conducted extensive field research in Italy, Greece and Turkey. To learn more, read the feature "The Gospel Truth?".

New Testament: Prophecy and Revelation

Steve Friesen
The Louise Farmer Boyer Chair in Biblical Studies, Department of Classics
512-471-8629
friesen@mail.utexas.edu

Friesen teaches courses such as "Introduction to the New Testament," and "Revelation and Apocalyptic Literature." He is the author of "Imperial Cults and Apocalypse of John: Reading Revelation in the Ruins." His next book, "Paul, Poverty, and Patronage," will examine the economic ideas and practices of the apostle and his communities.

Secularization of Religious Holidays

Penne Restad
Senior Lecturer, Department of History
512-471-5236
restad@mail.utexas.edu

Restad studies religion and culture and can discuss the commercialization of religious holidays. He is the author of "Christmas in America: A History," which examines the secularization of the Christian holy day.

The Bible as Literature

Michael Adams
Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor, Department of English
512-471-8528
adameve@mail.utexas.edu

Adams teaches the courses "Bible as Literature" and "In Search of Meaning." He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Academy of Religion.

The Science of Religion

Christopher Ellison
Professor, Department of Sociology
512-232-6312
cellison@prc.utexas.edu

Ellison leads the Center for the Scientific Study of Religion. His research focuses on how religious involvement affects mental and physical health, the role of religious institutions and practices among ethnic minorities and religious variations in family life. To learn more, read the feature "The Science of Religion."

Christian Monasticism and Heresy

Martha Newman
Chair, Department of Religious Studies
512-471-7223
newman@mail.utexas.edu

Newman studies Judaism and early Christianity, including medieval Christian monasticism, heresy and the Inquisition. She is the author of "The Boundaries of Charity: Cistercian Culture and Ecclesiastical Reform, 1098-1180." To learn more, read the feature "Spirituality and Society."

Christianity, Teens and Sexuality

Mark Regnerus
Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
512-232-6307
regnerus@prc.utexas.edu

Regnerus is one of the nation's leading scholars on the sexual values of American teens. He is the author of "Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers." To learn more, watch his Take Five video lecture.

Activism in African-American Churches

Eric McDaniel
Assistant Professor, Department of Government
512-232-7268
emcdaniel@mail.utexas.edu

McDaniel researches the intersection between religion and politics, how religious interpretations differ among racial groups and how this shapes political attitudes. He is the author of the forthcoming book, "Politics in the Pews: The Political Mobilization of Black Churches."

Catholicism and Mexican Americans

Anne Martinez
Assistant Professor, Department of History
512-475-7268
ammmtz@mail.utexas.edu

Martinez studies the role of religion in U.S.-Mexico relations during the Mexican Revolutionary period. Her work also examines the relationships among race, religion and nationalism in Mexican American communities.

Lives of the Saints

Alison Frazier
Associate Professor, Department of History
512-475-6375
akfrazier@mail.utexas.edu

Frazier teaches courses on Medieval and Renaissance Europe, intellectual history and religion. She is the author of "Possible Lives: Authors and Saints in Renaissance Italy," which examines the relationship between intellectuals and religion by looking at writings about saints during the Italian Renaissance.

Global Christianities

Robert Woodberry
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
512-232-6308
bobwood@mail.la.utexas.edu

Woodberry's research examines the long-term impact of missionaries on education, economic development and democracy in post-colonial societies, the spread of religious liberty and the international diffusion of social movements. He also has examined conservative Protestantism in America.

For more information, contact: Jennifer McAndrew;  Martha Newman, Department of Religious Studies, College of Liberal Arts, 512-232-2264.