My research is predominately in the field religion and social theory, specifically in the field of improvisational conspiracy, the overlapping belief systems of apocalyptic Christian thought and conspiracy theories, and the impact of these beliefs on the American political system. In my doctoral work, my focus has been on the John Birch Society of the 1950s and 1960s and how their form of improvisational conspiracism is linked to contemporary right-wing mobilization. I also have an interest in religion and pop culture, specifically within subversive or marginalized religious movements.
Material histories of religion, emphasizing the work of people in and on the world, stemming from American history and culture through the networks of resource extraction to oceanic spaces and the dark of coal mines. Comparative studies of religion and globalization embedded in those networks, influencing and influenced by the relentless frames of capitalism and “civilization.”
I am a specialist in Bengali Shakta traditions, and particularly intrigued by how political authority, canonical works of literature, and esotericism mediate differences between or within religions. My current book project, Raja Krishnacandra: Hindu Kingship and Myth-Making in Early Modern Bengal, explores how an eighteenth century Bengali raja named Krishnacandra Ray — famed throughout the region as a patron of Sanskrit scholarship, a champion of tantric goddess worship, and the alleged architect of British colonialism in India — passed into myth, and what that process suggests about the formation of regional and sectarian identities. Other interests at the moment include sacrifice, ritual magic, literary exegesis, and Hindu-Buddhist interactions.
David W. Stowe teaches English and Religious Studies at Michigan State University, where he served as chair of the English Department. His most recent book is Song of Exile, released in May 2016. Before that he published No Sympathy for the Devil: Christian Pop Music and the Transformation of American Evangelicalism (UNC Press 2011, pbk. 2013). His previous book, How Sweet the Sound: Music in the Spiritual Lives of Americans (Harvard, 2004), won the Deems Taylor Award from ASCAP. Stowe’s first book, Swing Changes: Big Band Jazz in New Deal America (Harvard, 1994), was published in Japanese translation by Hosei University Press. He has been interviewed about his work on NPR, consulted for PBS, and lectured on the subject of religion and music in America life for a variety of national organizations. Stowe has published a study of New York cabaret culture and politics in the 1930s and 1940s in the Journal of American History, where he regularly reviews books. He has also written articles on Japanese jazz artist Toshiko Akiyoshi, the musical history of Psalm 137 in the U.S. and Caribbean, whiteness studies, copyright and fair use for academic authors, and church conflict during the Great Awakening. During the 2012-13 academic year, Stowe held a research fellowship at Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music, where he researched and wrote a book manuscript on the cultural history of Psalm 137. While on leave from Michigan State University, Stowe taught at Doshisha University’s Graduate School of American Studies in Kyoto, Japan, where he also served as Associate Dean. There he taught American Civilization, American Thought, History of American Religious Music, and workshops on research in American Studies. As part of his interest in the globalization of American Studies, Stowe has participated in international conferences of American Studies scholars in Japan, Korea, and Singapore. He was a founding member of the Institute for the Study of Christianity and Culture, a Michigan-based research institute that sponsors lectures and symposia by leading scholars from around the country.
some interests: Brooklyn, Hip hop, sci fi, pop culture, queer stuff, Afro-Asia, blackness, martial arts, Buddhism, dogs, food
pop culture, queer studies, gender studies, visual culture, cultural studies
Victorian Studies, pop culture, film
Shakespeare, Appropriation, Renaissance drama, Gender and sexuality studies, Pop culture
Scholarly interests: Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century literature, drama, print culture; religion, gender, and animal welfare. Authors: Pope, Dryden, Finch, Canadian poet Margaret Avison.
Books published: Under the Veil: Feminism and Spirituality in Post-Reformation England and Europe (2012); Broken Boundaries; Women and Feminism in Restoration Drama (1996); special issue of Canadian Poetry on Avison (2006)
Working on: Alexander Pope and religion; Pope and the rhetoric of print
Personal interests: I am a classically trained singer. I love dogs and all animals. My husband (D.Phil Oxon. Mathematical Logic) is a computer programmer. We have four children, two now married. Home is northeastern Ontario woodland and second home is the UK.
Religion in China
Chinese conceptions of race and diversity
Religious literature and religion in literature