Pandemic and Pandemonium

Teaching Religious Studies in America 2020


  • Richard Newton University of Alabama



bulletin, David mconegy, ekaputra tupamahu, Jennifer eyl, Natalie avalos, Leslie Dorrough smith, covid-19, pandemic, pandemic pedagogy


The Buzz captures the timely concerns, challenges, and reflections on the minds of scholars at work. For this issue, we reached out to colleagues in North America to fill us in on the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the field and how they are responding. In this edition we are joined by Leslie Dorrough Smith (associate professor of religious studies at Avila University), Dave McConeghy (managing co-editor and co-host of the Religious Studies Project), Jennifer Eyl (associate professor of religion at Tufts University), Natalie Avalos (assistant professor of ethnic studies, University of Colorado-Boulder), and Ekaputra Tupamahu (assistant professor of New Testament, George Fox University).

Author Biography

Richard Newton, University of Alabama

Richard Newton received his PhD in Critical Comparative Scriptures from Claremont Graduate University.

Dr. Newton’s areas of interest include theory and method in the study of religion, African American history, the New Testament in Western imagination, American cultural politics, and pedagogy in religious studies. His research explores how people create “scriptures” and how those productions operate in the formation of identities and cultural boundaries. He has published an array of journal articles, book chapters and online essays. His book, Identifying Roots: Alex Haley and the Anthropology of Scriptures (Equinox 2020), casts Alex Haley’s Roots as a case study in the dynamics of scriptures and identity politics with critical implication for the study of race, religion, and media. He is also the curator of the  multimedia professional development network, Sowing the Seed: Fruitful Conversations in Religion, Culture, and Teaching.


Bunyasi, Tehama Lopez, and Candis Watts Smith. 2019. Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter. New York: New York University Press. DOI:



How to Cite

Newton, R. (2020). Pandemic and Pandemonium: Teaching Religious Studies in America 2020. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 49(1-2), 34–38.



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