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 Lundup 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 a former 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). He 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
Lecturer in Public Humanities
Lecturer Danielle Gervasio joined the department of Comparative Cultural Studies in 2007. She teaches in person, on-line, and blended courses in the humanities. She holds a M.A. in European History with a focus in Colonialism/Nationalism, Subaltern Theory, and the Visual Culture of Empires (Roman and British) and a B.A. in Art History with a minor in Humanities. Her research interests focus on Classical Antiquity, 18th-20th c. Britain, and 18th-21th Central America and include the philosophy of history, popular/mass culture, and public representations of cultural contact (world’s exhibitions, advertising, performance arts), especially those arising through the projects of nationalism, imperialism, and colonialism. Ms. Gervasio teaches about the arts through thematic prisms that link cultures, peoples, ideas, and aesthetic choices to the vast concepts available in the humanities such as beauty and truth, history and modernity, high art and low art, nostalgia, memory, desire, and the connections between the categories of sacred and secular within the broader frameworks of consumerism, historicism, humanism, feminism, nationalism, Modernism, and Post-modernism.
Lecturer in Cinema Studies & Public Humanities
Dr. David Gray earned his Ph.D. in Film and Media Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2015. His research and teaching interests include documentary, Latin American film and media, Third Cinema, spatial studies, trauma and memory studies, the essay film, and film exhibition and programming. Dr. Gray’s publications include the articles “A Painful Education: Three Exhibition Scenes for 19802 Chilean Activist Documentary” in Wide Screen (2018), “‘What to do starting from this place’: documentary film and official memorialization in Argentina and Chile” in Studies in Documentary Film (2015), and “Introduction: Memory, Space, and Media” in Media Fields Journal with Jade Petermon (2012). Dr. Gray serves as the coordinator for the Latin American Film Series in the College of Arts and Letters.
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: Festrschrift 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 the 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, 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).
Emeritus Professor of Art History
Endowed Professor of Religious Studies & Director of the Martin-Springer Institute
One of the leading scholars in the field of Critical Men’s Studies in Religions, Dr. Björn Krondorfer has served as Director of the Martin-Springer Institute at Northern Arizona University and Endowed Professor of Religious Studies since 2012. His field of expertise is religion, gender, and culture, and (post-) Holocaust and reconciliation studies. 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 in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Israel & Palestine, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and the United States. 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. Dr. Krondorfer’s publications include 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.
Lecturer in Public Humanities and the Comparative Study of Religions
Dr. Patricia McKee holds a Ph.D. in Art and Religion from the Graduate Theological Union in conjunction with theUniversity of California-Berkeley (2015), a M.T.S. in Theology and the Arts from Emory University, and a B.A. in Theatre and Drama from Indiana University-Bloomington. She teaches courses in religious studies, public humanities, and theatre history. Dr. McKee’s broader interdisciplinary interests in religion and art intersect across many different fields, including performance studies, art history, historical theology, and culture studies. Her most recent publications include “Hand to the Heart: Authenticity in Preacher and Player Portraiture” in Theatre Survey (2018), which addresses the relationship between church and theatre in early modern England, and “Scorning the Image of Virtue: The Player Nathan Field’s Letter to the Reverend Thomas Sutton, 1616” in Religion and the Arts (2016). Her work in the public humanities serves the local community, most recently resulting in a grant of $25,000 toward the restoration of the historic Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel in downtown Flagstaff. Dr. McKee will stage the medieval operetta Ordo Virtutum by Hildegard of Bingen for the Flagstaff Master Chorale’s 41st season in the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel on April 12, 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
Lecturer in Public Humanities
Public Humanities Emphasis Coordinator
Dr. Rebekah Pratt-Sturges holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Art History from Arizona State University (2017, 2008) and a B.A. in Art History from Northern Arizona University. She teaches courses in public and digital humanities, museum studies, and art history. Dr. Pratt’s teaching areas of research include repatriation, archival studies, and public engagement in museums. Her digital humanities courses feature digital collection management and digital exhibition design using the webapplication platform Omeka S. She is currently curating a digital exhibition celebrating the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra’s 70th Anniversary (Fall 2019). 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 forthcoming essay “Taming the Wild in Le livre de chasse: Real Spaces, Imagined Places, and the Medieval Park,” in the anthology Reading the Natural World: Perceptions of the Natural World and Environment in the Global Middle Ages and Renaissance (Brepols 2020) and the article “From Animal to Meat: Illuminating the Medieval Hunt” in eHumanista (2013).
Lecturer in Public Humanities
Dr. Patrick Pynes is a native-born Texan whose family tree has ancestral roots in the American Southeast, Ireland, Scotland, England, and Prussia. The son of a career U.S. Army officer and an opera singer, he had the good fortune to be raised cross-culturally in Mexico, Honduras, and the Panama Canal Zone. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. His dissertation is an ethno-environmental history of the Navajo Nation’s ponderosa pine forests. He speaks, reads, and writes Spanish and Navajo, the former semi-fluently. During the 1990s, Dr. Pynes lived in Albuquerque’s South Valley. Since 2000, he has lived and worked in northern Arizona. He was one of the first staff members for Northern Arizona University’s Center for Sustainable Environments, and researched, co-wrote, and co-edited a study of the Colorado Plateau’s biocultural diversity with Dr. Gary Paul Nabhan. With his interdisciplinary background, Pynes has taught graduate and undergraduate courses for three different colleges at NAU and for diverse departments and programs, including Sustainable Communities, Environmental Studies, Comparative Cultural Studies, and the Department of Applied Indigenous Studies, for whom he was a Visiting Assistant Professor (2007-2009). Dr. Pynes currently teaches interdisciplinary courses in the environmental and public humanities. Since 2000, Pynes has been Gardens Manager for La Posada Hotel in Winslow, except for two years (2003-2005) spent as Director of Gardens and Horticulture for The Arboretum at Flagstaff. He has been a passionate organic gardener and beekeeper for more than twenty-five years. He has been teaching workshops about organic beekeeping since 2005, most recently under the auspices of his business, the Center for Organic Beekeeping (COB), an LLC. In 2013, he instigated the creation of the Northern Arizona Organic Beekeepers’ Association (NAOBA), a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, and serves as NAOBA’s President.
Professor of Humanities
Dr. Krista Rodin teaches a variety of interdisciplinary courses relating to ancient cultures, sacred traditions, the refugee crisis and the impacts of emerging technologies on human values. Her research centers around ancient goddess traditions as well as on the saints and symbols in Austrian churches. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Salzburg, Austria, where she started her career as an operatic stage director. She directed operas in professional houses throughout the German-speaking world for ten years before returning to the U.S. and the academy. Dr. Rodin’s recent publications include two essays in Goddesses in Myth, History and Culture (Mago Books, 2018)
Associate Professor of Art History & Director of the NAU Art Museum
Art History Program Emphasis 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.
Assistant Professor of Practice in Arts and Cultural Management
Arts and Cultural Management Minor Program Coordinator
Dr. Stephanie N. Stallings coordinates the minor in Arts and Cultural Management and teaches courses that provide students with project-based experiential learning in partnership with local arts organizations. She is also active in the Northern Arizona arts community as a board member and volunteer. Her current research projects examine the application of sustainability discourses to arts & cultural policy, to local arts engagement and community building, and to the evolving roles of cultural organizations under neoliberalism. She has led research, management and evaluation projects for the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Ford Theatres (Los Angeles), Mexico City-USA, Emerging Arts Leaders (Los Angeles) and the Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, DC). Dr. Stallings holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Florida State University (2009) and a Bachelor of Music (BMus) in piano performance from Furman University (2002). Recent publications by Dr. Stallings include the essay “Los modernismos panamericanos de Carlos Chávez y Henry Cowell” in Carlos Chávez and His World, edited by Leonora Saavedra (El Colegio nacional, 2018).
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.