Gary M. Laderman

Goodrich C. White Professor of American Religious History and Cultures

Office: S204 Callaway Memorial Center

Phone: 404-727-4641

Fax: 404-727-7597


Additional Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Department of Religion

Emory University
537 Kilgo Cir., Callaway S214

Atlanta, GA 30322


Gary Laderman, Goodrich C. White Professor of American Religious History and Cultures, Department of Religion.


Gary Laderman, Goodrich C. White Professor of American Religious History and Cultures, is the author of some books: Don't Think About Death: A Memoir on Mortality (Deeds, 2020), Sacred Matters: Celebrity Worship, Sexual Ecstasies, the Living Dead, and Other Signs of Religious Life in the United States (The New Press, 2009), Rest in Peace: A Cultural History of Death and the Funeral Home in Twentieth-Century America (Oxford University Press, 2003) and The Sacred Remains: American Attitudes Toward Death, 1799-1883 (Yale University Press, 1996).

He has co-edited two encyclopedias, Religion and American Cultures: An Encyclopedia of Traditions, Diversity, and Popular Expressions (4 vols., ABC-Clio, 2003, updated with additional volume, 2015; voted best reference by Library Journal) and Science, Religion, Societies: Histories, Cultures, Controversies (2 vols., with a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama; ME Sharpe, 2007).

He’s been interviewed on various topics in American religious cultures, ranging from death and funerals to horror films and psychedelics, in a variety of media, including the New York TimesLos Angeles TimesWashington Post, and other newspapers; US News and World ReportEbony, The LutheranVice and other magazines; On PointOdyssey, and other radio shows; as well as on the NBC Evening NewsThe Today ShowCharles Osgood CBS Morning Show, and other television and documentary broadcasts. His shorter essays have appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Huffington PostSacred Matters, and other religion blogs. Laderman is also a founder of the online religion magazines, Religion Dispatches and Sacred Matters

He is continuing to research, write, and teach on the sacred in American life generally, and is currently working on a book project exploring religion and drugs, the focus of a new course taught in 2017, “Sacred Drugs.” He has been involved in a variety of collaborative projects that have received funding from the Lilly Endowment, Center for Theology and Natural Sciences, the Ford Foundation, and Emory. Earlier in his career, Laderman organized numerous conferences at Emory, 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; Religion and Music; Health and Healing; Religion and Sexuality; and Sacred Drugs.


Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace

The Sacred Remains

The Sacred Remains

Religion and American Cultures book jacket

Religion and American Cultures

Science, Religion and Society cover

Science, Religion and Society

Sacred Matters cover

Sacred Matters

American Civil Religion cover

American Civil Religion

Don't Think About Death: A Memoir on Mortality