Gary Laderman, Professor and Chairperson, Department of Religion (1994). Gary Laderman, Professor of American Religious History and Cultures at Emory University, is the author of Sacred Matters: Celebrity Worship, Sexual Ecstasies, the Living Dead, and Other Signs of Religious Life in the United States (The New Press, 2009). He is also the author of two books on death in America: The Sacred Remains: American Attitudes Toward Death, 1799-1883 (Yale University Press, 1996) and Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America (Oxford University Press, 2003). He also has co-edited two encyclopedias, Religion and American Cultures: An Encyclopedia of Traditions, Diversity, and Popular Expressions (3 vols., ABC-Clio, 2003; voted best reference by Library Journal in same year) and Science, Religion, Societies: Histories, Cultures, Controversies (2 vols., 2006; ME Sharpe). Over the last decade, Laderman has been interviewed on topics ranging from death and funerals to horror films and televangelists in a variety of media, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and other newspapers; US News and World Reports, Ebony, The Lutheran, and other magazines; On Point, Odyssey, Charles Osgood CBS Morning Show, and other radio shows; as well as on the NBC Evening News, The Today Show, and other television and documentary broadcasts.
In addition to serving as chairperson of the department, Laderman is also a founder of the online religion magazine, Religion Dispatches. He is continuing to research, write, and teach on the sacred in American life generally, and is currently writing an ebook on American civil religion and working on a book project exploring American religious history from a global perspective. He has been involved in a variety of collaborative projects that have received funding from the Lilly Endowment, Center for Theology and Natural Sciences, and the Ford Foundation. He has organized numerous conferences at Emory University, including "Religious Diversity in Metropolitan Atlanta," "Religion in the American South," "Science and Religion: Perspectives on Suffering and Healing," "Against Death: Scientific and Religious Perspectives on Prolonging Life," "New Perspectives in Health and Healing: Can Science and Religion Work Together," and "Contesting Religion and Religions Contested: The Study of Religion in a Global Context". In Fall 2006, Laderman was a visiting fellow at the University of Victoria, BC, and in Summer 2007, he participated in the Nanzan American Studies Summer Seminar as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer.Laderman received his B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Northridge, and his M.A. and Ph. D. from the Religious Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara. He also spent a year in Paris, France, as a graduate student, studying at the Center for Critical Studies and the Sorbonne. Laderman’s courses and seminars include US Religious History; Mind, Medicine, and Healing; Death and Dying; Theory and Method; Introduction to Religion; Native American Religions; Health and Healing; and American Religious Cultures.
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