J. Spencer Fluhman, executive director of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute and associate professor of history at Brigham Young University, has been selected as a visiting professor in the Department of Religious Studies at UC Santa Barbara. His appointment—which includes both teaching and research responsibilities, running concurrent with his directorship of the Maxwell Institute—will span UCSB’s winter and spring terms, January through July 2020.
UCSB describes its department of religious studies as undertaking “a cross-cultural comparative study of religion and an interdisciplinary approach through the lens of history, political science, anthropology, sociology, comparative literature and philosophy.” Its areas of focus span “Christian religions, Native American religions, the philosophy of religion, Buddhist studies, Mediterranean religions and East Asian religions.”
Dr. David Walker, associate professor of religious studies at UCSB, said Fluhman’s appointment signals the department’s increasing support of “innovative scholars in the field of Mormon studies and American religions.”
“Few people have done more to render Mormon studies a seriously interdisciplinary endeavor in and for the modern academy as Professor Fluhman,” Dr. Walker said.
Dr. Fluhman said his passion for religious studies is fueled in part by a concern to foster peaceful relationships in communities with diverse beliefs.
“I worry about religious illiteracy: not knowing about the community life of my neighbors,” said Dr. Fluhman. “Religious studies is a democratic process that can deepen and broaden that understanding.”
Learn more about Dr. Fluhman’s appointment here.