Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Program Directors and Faculty

2015-2017 "World Religions in Greater Indianapolis" NEH Program


Program Directors and Faculty

Program Directors

John J. Cooney, a native of New York state, studied American history in college and graduate school and he holds a graduate degree in management of nonprofit enterprise. He served in the Signal Corps of the US Army on assignments in Asia and Europe and in the USA. In Indiana he has worked as a fund raising executive for an art Cooney.neh.jpegschool, for a senior citizen’s center and for a statewide professional association. He was vice president for an antiques business and served as an executive director for a housing trust fund. He established Shaker Press Books bookbinding studio to produce presentation books and boxes to promote engagement with personal legacy opportunities. He presently serves as the Humanities Program Chair at Ivy Tech Community College where he teaches classes in American history and humanities. He could once recite in Latin selections from the service for the Catholic mass. His travels have taken him to some of the shrines of world religion to include Chartres Cathedral and Buddhist temples in South Korea and China. From the foot of the Acropolis he once gazed up at the Parthenon as he listened to an evening outdoor performance of Handel’s Messiah.

Edward Curtis is Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and Professor of Religious Studies at the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Curtis’ publications Curtis.jpgon Muslim American history and life have been called  “essential,” “exemplary,” “approachable,” “groundbreaking,” “must-read”, “wonderful,” and “a model of clarity.”  His Muslims in America: A Short History (Oxford, 2009) was named one of the best 100 books of 2009 by Publishers Weekly, and his two-volume Encyclopedia of Muslim-American History was deemed one of the “best reference works of 2010” by Library Journal. In addition to works written for general readers, Curtis has penned refereed articles selected for publication in American Quarterly, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Religion and American Culture, and the Journal of American History. A former NEH Fellow at the National Humanities Center, he has also been awarded Carnegie, Fulbright, and Mellon fellowships.

Arthur E. Farnsley II is Research Professor of Religious Studies at IUPUI, Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, and Executive Officer of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR). His books Farnsley.neh.jpginclude Southern Baptist Politics;  Rising Expectations: Urban Congregations, Welfare Reform, and Civic Life; Sacred Circles, Public Squares:  The Multicentering of American Religion; and Flea Market Jesus.  His essays have appeared in Christian Century and Christianity Today magazines and his opinion pieces have run in papers nationwide.  He edits an Indiana University Press series on urban religion and was research director for the video series, Faith and Community: The Public Role of Religion.  He is also 28-time champion in knife and tomahawk in the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association.


Chad Bauman earned his Ph.D. degree at Princeton Theological Seminary. His earliest research focused on the interaction of low-caste Christians and Hindus in colonial India, where he frequently travels for research. His dissertation on the topic became a book, Christian Identity and Dalit Religion in Hindu India, 1868-1947, and Bauman.jpegwon the prize for Best Book in Hindu-Christian Studies, 2006-2008, from the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies.Bauman has also conducted research on Sathya Sai Baba, a popular, miracle-working Indian god-man with an international following that extends even to the city of Indianapolis. Since 2008, Bauman has been conducting research on Hindu-Christian conflict. Just recently, Oxford University Press published his book on the topic, called Pentecostals, Proselytization, and Anti-Christian Violence in Contemporary India. At Butler, Bauman is Chair of the department of Philosophy and Religion and the Classical Studies Program, and teaches introductory surveys of the world’s religions as well as upper-level courses on Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam.

Heather Blair specializes in the history of Japanese religions, especially Buddhism, Shintō, and local practices. Her research follows two primary trajectories: one focused on sacred landscapes and the religious lifestyles ofBlair2.jpg laypeople in early medieval Japan, and one focused on present uses of the religious past.  Her first book, Real and Imagined: The Peak of Gold in Heian Japan (Harvard Asia Center, 2015), examines the interfusion of religion, politics, and place in the tenth and eleventh centuries. She teaches courses on East Asian Buddhism, Japanese religions, and religion and popular culture at Indiana University.

Sarah Imhoff is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University. She writes on gender and American Judaism both historically and in the present, the role of DNA and genetic Imhoff.jpegdiscourse in constructions of Jewishness, and the history of the field of Religious Studies, especially in its relation to US law. Her work has appeared on internet sites such as The Immanent Frame and Sightings, as well as more traditional academic venues, including the Journal of ReligionAmerican Jewish HistoryReligion and Culture, and Critical Research on Religion. She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Masculinity and the Making of American Judaism.

Andrea R. Jain is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis and author of Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014). She is also a co-author of Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms (by Jeffrey J. Kripal et al., Wiley-Blackwell, 2014). Her Jain.jpegareas of interest include the history of modern yoga, especially yoga’s twentieth-century popularization and intersections with consumer culture. She is currently writing on defining yoga, nationalism and yoga, yoga among disenfranchised communities, andthe intersections of gender, sexuality, and yoga in U.S. histories. Her recent publications also include articles in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and Nova Religio and book chapters in Gurus of Modern Yoga (ed. by Ellen Goldberg and Mark Singleton, Oxford University Press, 2014) and The Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion (ed. by Charles Farhadian and Lewis R. Rambo, Oxford University Press, 2014). She is a regular contributor to Religion Dispatches on topics relating to yoga in contemporary culture and Co-Chair of the Yoga in Theory and Practice Group of the American Academy of Religion.

Guadalupe González Diéguez is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Near Eastern Literatures and Cultures as well as adjunct assistant professor in the Departments of Religious Studies and Spanish and Portuguese at Indiana Universitygonzalez.web.jpeg Bloomington. Dr. González Diéguez holds a PhD from New York University in Hebrew and Judaic studies. Her work focuses on the intersection of philosophy and mysticism in the Jewish and Muslim philosophical traditions of medieval Iberia, with a special interest in their practical and political aspects and the historical milieu in which they developed. She studies the role of Jewish philosophers as transmitters of Arabic knowledge and cultural models into Christian Europe. She also researches Sephardic Judaism and has an interest, both practical and theoretical, in the field of translation. Trained as a translator and interpreter, she has translated literary and philosophical works from German, French, Latin, and English into Spanish. In addition, Dr. González Diéguez  has worked on the history of translations in medieval Iberia, from Arabic into Latin, the Castilian vernacular, and Hebrew, with a focus on the translation of religious texts in the medieval Iberian milieu. She regularly teaches the the Introduction to Jewish History from the Bible to the Spanish Expulsion as part of IUB's Borns Jewish Studies Program.

Peter J. Thuesen is Professor of Religious Studies at IUPUI and co-editor of Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation.  A historian of Christianity and of religion in the United States, he is the author of Predestination: Thuesen.neh.jpgThe American Career of a Contentious Doctrine (Oxford, 2009), which received the 2010 Christianity Today Book Award for History/Biography, and In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles over Translating the Bible (Oxford, 1999), which received the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize of the American Society of Church History.  He is also the editor of a major critical edition, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 26, Catalogues of Books (Yale, 2008).  His latest book project is Tornado God: American Religion and Violent Weather.