Department Chair & Professor of the Comparative Study of Religions
Fulbright Fellow Dr. Paul Donnelly earned his Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His teaching and research interests include Tibetan Buddhism and Tantric Hinduism with secondary studies in Western Esotericism and Religion and Film. Dr. Donnelly received a Fulbright-Nehru Award for Academic and Professional Excellence Award in 2014 in support of his research on a little-known Himalayan Buddhist pilgrimage route, the focus of his recent article, “Where the Heroes and Sky-Goers Gather: A Study of Saurata Pilgrimage” in Religions (2017). Additional publications include the book Like a Waking Dream: The Autobiography of Geshe Lhundup Sopa (Wisdom Publications, 2012), the article “Liberation through Seeing: Screening The Tibetan Book of the Dead“ (Religions 2018), and several contributions to the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion.
Sarah Neville joined Comparative Cultural Studies in 2013.
Jason BeDuhn, Ph.D.
Professor of the Comparative Study of Religions
Guggenheim and National Humanities Center Fellow Dr. Jason BeDuhn is an advisor to UNESCO’s Atlas of the Silk Road project and former chair of the Department of Humanities, Arts, and Religion (2000-2004). He holds a Ph.D. in the Comparative Study of Religion from Indiana University (1995), an M.T.S. in New Testament and Christian Origins from Harvard Divinity School (1987), and a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Illinois (1984). His areas of research include Biblical Studies, Ancient Christianities, Manichaeism, Religions of West Asia in Late Antiquity, ritual and and self-forming practices, and method and theory in the study of religion and history. He is currently engaged in a multi-year collaborative project to edit and translate an ancient Coptic Manichaean manuscript with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Australian Research Council. The first of four volumes of the edited Coptic text and English translation has been issued by Brill Publishers, The Chapters of the Wisdom of My Lord Mani (2018). Dr. BeDuhn is the author of The Manichaean Body in Discipline and Ritual (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), recipient of the American Academy of Religion’s “Best First Book” Award in the category of History of Religions. He also authored Truth in Translation: Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament (University Press of America, 2003), a controversial critique of doctrinal bias in contemporary English Bible translations. The first two volumes of his trilogy, Augustine’s Manichaean Dilemma, were published by University of Pennsylvania Press in 2010 and 2013. He has also published a reconstruction of the contents of the earliest Christian Bible, dating to the second century, entitled The First New Testament: Marcion’s Scriptural Canon (Polebridge 2013).
Professor of Art History
Internationally recognized art historian of Etruscan art Dr. Alexandra Carpino earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Art History from the University of Iowa and a A.B. in Classical near Eastern Archaeology at Bryn Mawr College. Her publications include her first book, Discs of Splendor: The Relief Mirrors of the Etruscans (The University of Wisconsin Press, 2003), a second book completed with her colleague Dr. Sinclair Bell (Northern Illinois University) A Companion to the Etruscans (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), and several articles, including an essay on Etruscan portraiture in The Etruscan World, edited by Jean M. Turfa, an essay on “Marriage and Parenthood on Classical Period Bronze Mirrors: The Case of Latva and Tuntle,” which appeared in the Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections: Festschrift Fascicle for Dr. David Soren 10 (September 2016). Forthcoming publications include an article, “The Iconography of the Winged Menrva,” in Re-staging Greek Artworks in Roman Times, edited by G. Adornato, I. B. Romano, G. Cirucci, and A. Poggio. In 2016-2017, she participated in the National Lecture Program of the Archaeological Institute of America. She traveled to Walla Walla, WA in September (2016) and Toronto, CA, in April (2017) to talk about what the narratives on the reverses of the Etruscans’ mirrors tell us about motherhood and gender. She continues to serve the Etruscan Foundation as a manuscript reviewer and a member of its Advisory Board. Her teaching interests include Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art and is currently the faculty director of an immersion experience at NAU on “Art and Life in Tuscany,” a program of study that not only looks at Etruscan art and culture but also medieval and Renaissance art, heritage, and food history of Firenze, Pisa, Pienza, San Gimignano, and Siena.
Lecturer in the Comparative Study of Religions
Dr. Diana Murtaugh Coleman earned her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Arizona State University in 2018. A scholar of Islam in Global Context with an emphasis on contemporary Islam and post-Holocaust ethics, her research reflects a multi-disciplinary expertise in religion and conflict to her work on militarism. Recent publications include “The Amen Temple of Empire” in the New Caribbean Studies anthology Guantánamo and American Empire (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). Forthcoming publications include two invited articles, one in Sargasso: A Journal of Caribbean Literature, Language and Culture (in press) which considers how memory and witnessing inform notions of possible futures at Guantánamo Bay, and the second for a special issue of Cultural Dynamics (November 2019) which examines militarized responses to climate change and migration. Dr. Coleman’s current manuscript on meaning making practices and the ideological use of military and prisoner bodies at Guantánamo Bay is under revision.
Professor of Art History & Asian Studies
Asian Studies Emphasis Program Coordinator
Guggenheim Fellow Dr. Zsuzsanna Gulácsi is a historian of religious art specializing in the contextualized art historical study of pan-Asiatic religions that adapted their arts to a variety of cultures as they spread throughout the continent. She received a double major Ph.D. (1998) from Indiana University, Bloomington in Central Eurasian studies (Old Uygur) and art history (Asian Art), and the equivalent of an ABD degree (1990) from Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest in historical ethnography with an emphasis in Turkic studies. Dr. Gulácsi’s teaching career began at Sophia University in Tokyo in Japan, where she was a tenured assistant professor of Central Asian and Buddhist art history (1999-2003). Since 2003, she have been teaching at Northern Arizona University, where she was tenured in 2006 and promoted to the rank of Professor in 2012. Dr. Gulácsi offers courses on Buddhist art, Islamic Art, Arts of China, Arts of Japan, the Arts of the Book, Didactic Arts, Craft of Research in Asian Studies, and a survey of Arts Across the Asian Continent. The main foci of Dr. Gulácsi’s research have been materiality of religion, codicology, and iconography, and the communication of which often involves innovative digital imaging in the forms of pictorial reconstructions and design layouts. She is the author of three books, Mani’s Pictures: The Didactic Images of the Manichaeans from Sasanian Mesopotamia to Uygar Central Asia and Tang-Ming China (Brill, 2016), Medieval Manichaean Book Art: A Codicological Study of Iranian and Turkic Illuminated Book Fragments (Brill, 2005), and Manichaean Art in Berlin Collections (Brepols, 2001), and the edited volume Language, Society, and Religion in the World of the Turks: Festschrift for Larry Clark at Seventy-Five (Brepols, 2018). Dr. Gulácsi has also published dozens of articles on Manichaean, Eastern Christian, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, and Islamic art. Her research has been supported by multiple residencies at the National Humanities Center, grants by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Scholarship, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Philosophical Society, and most recently by the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (2016) and a Getty Residential Scholar Grant at the Getty Villa (2019). Dr. Gulacsi serves on the board of the Grove Encyclopedia of Asian Art and Oxford Art Online and the International Association of Manichaean Studies, as well as the editor of the Art and Archaeology Series of the Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum published by Brepols.
Assistant Professor of the Comparative Study of Religions & Asian Studies
Comparative Study of Religions Emphasis Program Coordinator
Dr. Dunja Jelesijevic earned her Ph.D. in Japanese religion from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She studied at Nagoya University as a Japan Foundation Fellow during 2012-2013. Her research interests include premodern Japanese religion, literature, and performance arts, with a specific focus on religious aspects of Noh theater. Her broader interests include East Asian Buddhism and East Asian folk religions, as well as Chinese religion, philosophy, and literature. Dr. Jelesijevic has written and presented on the topics of religion and ritual in the number of Noh plays. Her forthcoming publications include “Dangerous’ Beauty: Imagining the Other in the Noh Play Sesshōseki,” in “Narratives Crossing Borders: Cultural Perspectives,” (Dalarna University, Sweden), and “Shinto Spaces and Shinbutsu Interaction in the Noh” in “What is Shinto” (Equinox Publications, UK).
Endowed Professor of Religious Studies & Director of the Martin-Springer Institute
Dr. Krondorfer is Director of the Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University and Endowed Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies. His field of expertise is religion, gender, and culture, and (post-) Holocaust and reconciliation studies. His scholarship helped to define the field of Critical Men’s Studies in Religions. In 2007-08, he was guest professor at the Institute of Theology and the History of Religion at the Freie University Berlin, Germany, and he held the status of visiting Faculty Affiliate at the University of the Free State, South Africa. He received a Senior Research Fellowship at the Research Institute CLUE+ (in affiliation with Faculty of Theology) at the Vrije University in Amsterdam (2016/2017) and he is the recipient of the Norton Dodge Award for Scholarly and Creative Achievements. He has been invited to speak, present his research, and facilitate intercultural seminars around the world.
Publications include the forthcoming volume The Holocaust and Masculinities: Critical Inquiries into the Presence and Absence of Men (SUNY 2020); Reconciliation in Global Context: Why it is Needed and How it Works (SUNY, 2018); Male Confessions: Intimate Revelations and the Religious Imagination (Stanford UP, 2010); Men and Masculinities in Christianity and Judaism (London, SCM, 2009); Men’s Bodies, Men’s Gods (New York UP, 1996); Remembrance and Reconciliation (Yale UP, 1995); and Body and Bible (Trinity Press, 1992). He guest-edited four journal issues: Strangers or Neighbors? Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Perspectives on Refugees (CrossCurrents 2018), Antisemitism and Islamophobia (CrossCurrents 2015), Masculinities and Religion (Religion and Gender 2012), and Embattled Masculinities in the Religious Traditions (CrossCurrents 2011). He also published three volumes in German on the cultural and theological legacy of the Holocaust, and edited Edward Gastfriend’s My Father’s Testament: Memoir of a Jewish Teenager, 1938-1945 (Temple UP, 2000). He serves on several editorial and advisory boards.
As director of the Martin-Springer Institute, he has organized several international academic symposia and has mentored the creation of several exhibits, Through the Eyes of Youth: Life and Death in the Bedzin Ghetto; Resilience: Women in Flagstaff’s Past and Present; and on the Berlin Wall. He has curated the art exhibitions Wounded Landscapes (2014) and Echoes of Loss: Artistic Responses to Trauma (2018). He has been awarded a one-month residential fellowship at the Santa Fe Art Institute on the theme of “truth and reconciliation” (2019).
Associate Professor of Art History
Dr. McLerran studies twentieth-century Native American arts and crafts, focusing on government-sponsored programs and projects of the New Deal era. She earned a Ph.D. in Native American art history from the University of Washington, a M.F.A. in Painting from Colorado State University and a Master of Humanities degree from the University of Colorado. Dr. McLerran served as Curator at the Kennedy Museum of Art at Ohio University from 2001 to 2007 and Curator of the Museum at the Museum of Northern Arizona from 2007-2009. Recent publications by Dr. McLerran include A New Deal for Native Art: Indian Arts and Federal Policy 1933—1943 (University of Arizona Press, 2009), which was named a Notable Southwest Book of the Year; Tselani/Terrain: Tapestries of D. Y. Begay (Flagstaff, AZ: Museum of Northern Arizona, 2018;) “A Native Feminist Ethics in Contemporary Indigenous Art” and “D. Y. Begay” in Teri Greeves and Jill Ahlberg Yohe, eds., Hearts of Our People: Native American Women Artists (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018); “Navajo Weavings in John Ford Westerns” (co-authored with Thomas Patin), International Journal of Semiotics and Visual Rhetoric, vol. 2, no. 1, 2018; “Difficult Stories: A Native Feminist Ethics in the Work of Mohawk Artist Carla Hemlock,” Feminist Studies, vol. 43, no. 1 (2017): 68-107; “Jessie Donaldson Schultz and Northern Plains Native Social Welfare Projects, 1926-1953,” American Indian Culture and Research Journal, vol. 39, no. 2 (2015): 69-95; “The Kateri Cooperative Among Plateau Native Women: An Indian New Deal Enterprise,” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 4 (2015): 169-182; A:shiwi A:wan Ulohnanne: The Zuni World (A:shiwi A:wan Heritage Center and Museum, Zuni, NM and Museum of Northern Arizona, 2011, co-authored with Jim Enote); and Weaving Is Life: Navajo Weavings from the Edwin L. and Ruth E. Kennedy Southwest Native American Collection (University of Washington Press, 2007). Dr. McLerran has also authored numerous articles on Native American art and culture for American Indian Art and First American Art. She is currently completing a book-length manuscript on mid-twentieth-century Navajo weaving. Her next book project deals with twentieth-century Native arts and crafts cooperatives.
Professor of Art History
Dr. Tom Patin teaches courses primarily on the history, theory, and criticism of nineteenth and twentieth century art and visual culture. He previously taught at Cornish College, Western Washington University, and Ohio University. Dr. Patin holds a BFA, an MFA (painting, mixed media installation, video), as well as an interdisciplinary Master’s degree in Humanities (art criticism and literary theory). He received a Ph.D. in Art History (twentieth-century art, contemporary theory, architectural theory, visual culture, museology, and Native American art) from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1995. His research centers on the visual rhetoric of display, presentation, and exhibition in American visual culture. He has researched and published on museums, but in recent years he has been especially interested in the uses and functions of visual rhetoric of display in national parks and the consequences for our understanding of nature, American history, environmental policy, and nationalism. Dr. Patin’s most recent publishing project, Observation Points: The Visual Poetics of National Parks (University of Minnesota Press) is an anthology that concentrates on those matters.
Dr. Patin’s next project, Nature’s Masterpiece; Naturalizing Culture in the National Parks, is a sole-authored book that investigates the development of techniques of displaying nature and human history in American national parks and monuments. Parks are specific type of museum that locate, define, exhibit and articulate “America.” The strategies of exhibition installed in those spaces are extraordinarily powerful yet invisible because they have been so naturalized. Both as a practice in spaces of exhibition as well as a methodology or examining related practices, visual rhetoric is one important tool used by American national parks in the creation of a larger national cultural identity. Dr. Patin has also published Discipline & Varnish (1999) which concerns the relationships of museum and exhibition design, art criticism, and personal/ethnic/national identity; and Artwords (1997; co-authored with Jennifer McLerran), a glossary of contemporary art theory and critical terminology. His scholarly essays have been published in Prospects, The Journal of American Culture, Yellowstone Science, Journal of Architectural Education, Western Historical Quarterly, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Artspace, New Art Examiner, as well as in numerous anthologies and exhibition catalogues.
Rebekah Pratt-Sturges, Ph.D.
Lecturer in Public Humanities
Humanities Emphasis and Museum Studies Minor Programs Coordinator
Dr. Becky Pratt-Sturges completed her Ph.D. in art history at Arizona State University in 2017. She teaches courses in the humanities, museum studies, and art history. Dr. Pratt’s teaching areas of research include human-animal studies, medieval studies, repatriation of cultural objects, archival studies, and public engagement in museums. Her digital humanities courses feature digital collection management and digital exhibition design using the web application platform Omeka S. In 2019, she curated a digital exhibition celebrating the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra’s 70th Anniversary and is currently working on a virtual tour highlighting the history of NAU with student interns. In the field of art history, Dr. Pratt specializes in the visual culture of the late Middle Ages and human-animal studies. Her publications include the essay “Taming the Wild in Le livre de chasse: Real Spaces, Imagined Places, and the Medieval Park,” in the anthology Reading the Natural World in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: Perceptions of the Environment and Ecology (Brepols 2020) and the article “From Animal to Meat: Illuminating the Medieval Hunt” in eHumanista (2013).
Associate Professor of Art History
Art History Emphasis Program Coordinator
Formerly the Curator of the Luce Foundation Center for American Art at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Dr. Speer joined Comparative Cultural Studies in 2006. His research interests encompass twentieth-century art and politics in Europe and the United States. His first book, Things of the Spirit: Art and Healing in the American Body Politic, 1929-1941 (Peter Lang 2012), examined manifestations of the twin crises of the Depression and the Dustbowl in America’s visual culture between the world wars. He is currently at work on a manuscript titled Cyrus Baldridge and Caroline Singer: Sojourners at the End of Empire, the narrative of an American illustrator and a journalist whose collaborative books were among the earliest voices to articulate a post-colonial political consciousness.
Professor of Humanities
President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow and Fulbright Fellow Dr. Gioia Woods is the author of the Western Writers Series monograph Gary Paul Nabhan (Boise State University Press, 2005), co-editor of Western Subjects: Autobiographical Writing in the North American West (University of Utah Press, 2005), and editor of Left in the West: Literature, Culture, and Progressive Politics in the American West (University of Nevada Press, 2018). Her teaching and research areas include environmental humanities and ecocriticism, western American literature and culture, and 20th century Cold War literature and culture. Dr. Woods has published numerous essays about 20th century literary criticism, ecocriticism, and biographical criticism. Her current research focuses on City Lights Bookstore and Press and its influence on free speech, independent press, and the culture of resistance. She served as the President of the Western Literature Association in 2010 and President of the NAU Faculty Senate from 2017-2019. Dr. Woods leads the NAU Summer Sustainability Program, Tuscany: Nature, Culture, Sustainability in Siena, an environmental humanities program which takes an interdisciplinary and hands-on approach to discovering the relationship between nature and culture.
Martin Springer Institute Fellows
John Barruzza, Ph.D.
Dr. Barruzza is a historian of modern Europe, with an emphasis on twentieth-century Italy and the Holocaust. His dissertation, which focuses on a multi-national group of Holocaust survivors who were deported from Italy, examines the interplay and overlap between victim, bystander, and perpetrator memories of the Holocaust. By examining survivor testimonies, Dr. Barruzza’s research shows how Italy’s Jewish victims, whether they were Italian or foreign, reproduced Italy’s self-exculpatory national myths well after the Second World War ended. Only in recent years has a counter-narrative, one of indifference, emerged from within the Jewish community to challenge the predominant national narratives. Centering the values of understanding, open-mindedness, and empathy, his teaching interests cover a range of topics in the fields of modern Europe, modern Italy, modern Germany, and memory studies, including: antisemitism and the Holocaust; Fascism and Nazism; nationalism, racism, and colonialism; and the relationship between total war and totalitarianism. At NAU, Dr. Barruzza is excited to be offering courses on the Holocaust in the spring and fall 2021 semesters, and he looks forward to spending the 2020 year as a member of the Martin-Springer Institute and the NAU community.