Dr. Rebekka King

Assistant Professor

Dr. Rebekka King
(615) 494-8987
Room 304B, James Union Building (JUB)
MTSU Box 73, Murfreesboro, TN 37132
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Degree Information

  • Ph.D., University of Toronto (2012)
  • M.A., Queen's University (2005)
  • B.A., Bishop's University (2004)

Areas of Expertise

  • Global Christianity
  • North American Religions
  • Anthropology of Religion
  • Secularism
  • Bible and Its Reception
  • Method and Theory in the Study of Religion
  • Ethnographic Field Methods
  • Religion and the Public Sphere
  • Teaching for Civic Engagement                                                       

Biography

Dr. King is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. She holds Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Toronto. She teaches courses on global Christianity, Judaism and Islam, comparative religions, religion and film, the figure of Jesus, and the academic discipline of religious studies. Before coming to MTSU in the fall of 2013, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Trained as a cultural anthropol...

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Dr. King is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. She holds Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Toronto. She teaches courses on global Christianity, Judaism and Islam, comparative religions, religion and film, the figure of Jesus, and the academic discipline of religious studies. Before coming to MTSU in the fall of 2013, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, Dr. King’s research looks at the negotiation of boundaries within contemporary North American Christianity. Her first book (under contract with New York University Press) outlines the development of progressive Christianity as a variety of Christianity that is simultaneously secular and religious. Her second major project which has received funding from the American Academy of Religion Individual Research grant and MTSU’s FRCAC program explores the syntheses of Judaism, indigenous religions, and Christianity within a movement known as Jewish Affinity Christianity. Dr. King currently serves as the co-chair of the Sociology of Religion section of the American Academy of Religion and is one of the editors of Critical Research on Religion.

 

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Publications

Book Manuscript

[in progress] The New Heretics: Secularism, Skepticism, and the End of Christianity (under contract with NYU Press).

Book Chapters

Forthcoming. “Religion is Bullshit,” pp.149-161 in S...

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Book Manuscript

[in progress] The New Heretics: Secularism, Skepticism, and the End of Christianity (under contract with NYU Press).

Book Chapters

Forthcoming. “Religion is Bullshit,” pp.149-161 in Stereotyping Religion: Critiquing Clichés. Eds. Craig Martin and Brad Stoddard. London: Bloomsbury Press. 

  1. “Precision and Excess: Doing the Discipline of Religious Studies,” pp. 150-154 in Theory in a Time of Excess. Ed. Aaron Hughes. Sheffield: Equinox Press.
  1. “Civic Engagement in the Heart of the City,” pp. 74-87 in Teaching Civic Engagement in the Religion Classroom. Eds. Forrest Clingerman and Reid Locklin (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
  1. “Coffee with McCutcheon: A Conversation about Language, Pedagogy and Critical Pluralism,” pp.81-84 in Supplements to Method and Theory in the Study of Religion. Eds. Aaron Hughes, Russell McCutcheon and Kocku von Struckrad (Leiden: Brill).

Non-Refereed Journal Articles (Invited)

  1. Editorial: On a Balanced Critique: (or on the limits of critique).” [second author] Co-authored with Warren Goldstein and Jonathan Boyarin. Critical Research on Religion5(1): 4-8.
  1. Editorial: Critical Theory of Religion vs. Critical Religion.” [second author] Co-authored with Warren Goldstein, and Jonathan Boyarin. Critical Research on Religion 4(1): 3-7.
  1. Editorial: How Can Mainstream Approaches Become More Critical?” [third author] Co-authored with Warren Goldstein, Roland Boer, and Jonathan Boyarin. Critical Research on Religion 3(1): 3-12.
  1. The Anthropology of Christianity Goes to Seminary.” Religion and Society: Advances in Research 5: 255-260.
  1. Open Space Technology and the Study of Religion: A Report on an Experiment in Pedagogy.” Co-authored with Tyler Baker, Nicholas Dion, Jinging Liang, James McDonough, and Joshua Samuels. Bulletin for the Study of Religion 42(2): 28-32.
  1. The Academe, the Author and the Atheist: Bourdieu and the Reception of the Study of Religion.” Bulletin for the Study of Religion 41(1): 14-19.
  1. Notes on a North American Anthropology of Christianity.” Bulletin for the Study of Religion 39 (1): 11-16.
  1. “Preaching to the Choir: The Lives and Literature of “Agnostic” Christians.” The Centre for the Study of Religion Graduate Student Journal 8:48-54.

Scholarly Essays

  1. Teaching Dual Nationalism: A Pedagogy of Displacement.” Teaching, Religion, Politics – online series hosted by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Religious Studies and Theology.
  1. Whose Loss is it Anyway?: A Discussion on Nostalgia and Social Media.” Studying Religion in Culture – Guest Blog for the University of Alabama, Department of Religious Studies.
  1. Whither the Sociology of Religion: A Response to Grace Davie on New Directions in the Sociology of Religion.” The Religious Studies Project.
  1. Ritual Language and Christian Ontologies.” Practicum: Critical Theory, Religion, and Pedagogy Blog.
  1. Ethics of Belief and the Discipline of Sincerity, Or, Progressive Christianity 101, How Not to Pray to an Interventionist God.” Anthropology News. Society for the Anthropology of Religion.
  1. “Civic Engagement and Civic Spaces: A New Perspective on Pedagogy and Homelessness” in Spotlight on Teaching: AAR Religious Studies News.

2009-2011. Regular contributions to the University of Toronto’s Religion in the Public Sphere Blog, The Religion Beat (http://religionbeat.blogspot.com).

Encyclopedia Entries

Forthcoming. “Can One Study One’s Own Religion Objectively?” pp.290-292 in Religion in Five Minutes. Eds. Russell McCutcheon and Aaron Hughes. Sheffield, UK: Equinox.

  1. “Canada: Protestantism and the United Church of Canada.” In The Encyclopaedia of Religion in America (eds.) Charles H. Lippy and Peter W. Williams, 395-404. Washington: C.Q. Press.

Book Reviews

Forthcoming. “A Diagram for Fire: Miracles and Variation in an American Charismatic Movement by Jon Bialecki.” Marginalia Review of Books.

  1. “Sensational Devotion: Evangelical Performance in Twentieth Century America by Jill Stevenson.” Practical Matters 8:104-107.
  1. “Vernacular Religion in Everyday Life: Expressions of Belief by Marion Bowman and Ülo Valk (eds.).” Religion and Society: Advances in Research 4: 208-210.
  1. Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in the Age of Conservatism by David R. Swartz.” AnthroCyBib: The Anthropology of Christianity Bibliographic Blog.
  1. “Words upon the Word: An Ethnography of Evangelical Group Bible Study by James S. Bielo.” Religion and Society: Advances in Research 2: 167-168.

Reports and Documents towards Curriculum Development of BA/BS in Religious Studies

Spring 2016. Implementation Portfolio of BA/BS in Religious Studies (submitted to Tennessee Higher Education Council).

Fall 2016. Letter of Intent for the development of BA/BS in Religious Studies (submitted to Tennessee Board of Regents).

Fall 2014. Feasibility Report toward Religious Studies major program (submitted Provost’s office).

Reports – Other

2013. “Returning to High School in Ontario: Adult Students, Postsecondary Plans and Program Supports.” [second author] Co-authored with Christine Pinsent-Johnson and Shannon Howell. Higher Education Quality Control Counsel of Ontario.

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Presentations

Refereed Papers

“Critique as Horizon, Critique as Specter: Reflections from the Anthropology of Religion.” Roundtable Discussant, Society for the Anthropology of Religion – New Orleans, Louisiana (May 2017)

“Moving Toward a New Theoretical Framework: Exploring the Concept of ‘Lived Secularism’ in Contemporary Religions.” Implicit Religion, Denton Conference – Sarum College, Salisbury, England (May 2016)

&...

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Refereed Papers

“Critique as Horizon, Critique as Specter: Reflections from the Anthropology of Religion.” Roundtable Discussant, Society for the Anthropology of Religion – New Orleans, Louisiana (May 2017)

“Moving Toward a New Theoretical Framework: Exploring the Concept of ‘Lived Secularism’ in Contemporary Religions.” Implicit Religion, Denton Conference – Sarum College, Salisbury, England (May 2016)

“Affinity and Intimacy: Representational Economies in Jewish Affinity Christianity.” American Academy of Religion – Atlanta, Georgia (November 2015)

“Cultivating Rabbinical Christianity: Evangelicals, Messianics, and Redistributed Ethnic Imaginaries.” Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion – Nashville, Tennessee (March 2015)

“Playing Jewish in Rural Tennessee: A Case Study of Jewish Affinity Christianity and Messianic Judaism.” Southern Studies Conference – Auburn University, Montgomery (February 2015)

“Introducing Theory in the Classroom.” Workshop Leader. North American Association for the Study of Religion – San Diego, CA (November 2014)

“Placing Judaism before Jesus: Rhetorical Constructions of the Proto-­Christian Other in Contemporary Evangelicalisms.” Canadian Society for the Study of Religion – Brock University (May 2014)

“Bible Reading and Bible Rejecting: Negotiating Discursive Identities through Biblical Criticism and Interpretations.” American Academy of Religion – Baltimore, MD (November 2013)

“The Bible and Beyond: Evangelical Material Culture, Experiencing and Exhibiting History.” Canadian Society for the Study of Religion – University of Victoria (June 2013)

“Experiencing the Bible and Exhibiting History: Translation and Tradition as Evangelical Affect and Material Culture.” Society for the Anthropology of Religion – Pasadena, California (April 2013)

It’s Not You, It’s Me: Student Centered Pedagogy in the Classroom.” American Academy of Religion, Eastern International Region – University of Waterloo (May 2012)

“Resisting the Post-Secular Public Sphere: Progressive Christianity and the Politics of Secularism.” American Ethnological Society – New York, New York (April 2012)

“The Cyber-Social Sanctuary: The Performance of the Christian Subject Online and In church.” American Academy of Religion – San Francisco, California (November 2011)

“Mining the Text: An Anthropological Exploration of the Role of Popular Biblical Criticism in Progressive Christianity.” Society of Biblical Literature – San Francisco, California (November 2011)

“An Artifact and an Obstacle: Anthropological Explorations of Popular Biblical Criticisms in Contemporary Christianity.” Historical Studies Prandium – University of Toronto Mississauga (September 2011)

“Hegemonies and Heresies for the Not-So ‘Other’: The Anthropology of Christianity in a North American Context.” American Anthropological Association – New Orleans, Louisiana (November 2010)

“The Academe, the Author and the Atheist: The Reception of the Study of Religion by Progressive Christians.” American Academy of Religion – Atlanta, Georgia (November 2010)

“‘Still, Already, Yet’: A Discourse Analysis of Temporal Adverbs in Progressive Christian Communities.” International Association for the History of Religions – Toronto, Ontario (August 2010)

“When the Sacred Courts the Secular: Representation, Identity and Deconversion Among Atheist Christians.” American Academy of Religion – Montreal, Quebec (November 2009)

“The City, the Concept and the Classroom: Teaching Lived Religions in North America’s Most Religiously Diverse City.” Canadian Society for the Study of Religion – Carlton University (May 2009)  

“But is it Christian?: Labels and Lived Religion in Post-Christian Communities.” Canadian Society for the Study of Religion – University of British Columbia (June 2008)

“Tom Harpur and the Sociology of Dissent.” American Academy of Religion, Eastern International Region – University of Waterloo (May 2007)

“Preaching to the Choir: The Lives and Literature of Agnostic Christians.” Society for the Anthropology of Religion – Phoenix, Arizona (April 2007)

“Agnostic Christians and the Devolution of Theology?” Centre for the Study of Religion Graduate Student Symposium – University of Toronto (March 2007)

“Neo-literalism and the drive for ‘intellectual integrity’ in contemporary liberal Christianity.” Canadian Society for the Study of Religion – York University (May 2006)

“Constructing the Spiritual Enclave: Dispensationalism and Rapture Narratives in Contemporary Christian Fundamentalisms.” Centre for the Study of Religion Graduate Student Symposium – University of Toronto (March 2006)

“Progressive Christianity in Canada.” Canadian Society for the Study of Religion – University of Western Ontario (May 2005)

“Memories and Truths: A discussion of Confessional Narratives in Canadian Literature.” American Academy of Religion, Eastern International Region – McGill University (May 2005)

 

Invited Papers, Responses and Lectures

Workshop Leader, “Teach with Confidence: ‘Difficult Conversations’ in the Classroom,” Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.  American Academy of Religion and Society for Biblical Literature – Boston Massachusetts (forthcoming, November 2017)

Panelist, “Digital Media and Communications,” Academic Relations and Leadership Committee. American Academy of Religion – Boston, Massachusetts (forthcoming, November 2017)

Invited Respondent, “Using Thick Descriptions and Ethnographic Analysis.” Construction of Christian Identities Seminar, Society for Biblical Literature – Boston, Massachusetts (forthcoming, November 2017)

Invited Paper, “State of the Field: The Religious Studies Department.” North American Association for the Study of Religion – Boston, Massachusetts (forthcoming, November 2017).

Response to Marla Frederick, Gabriel Acevedo, Randy Styers, and James Spickard, “Rethinking Theory, Methods and Data: A Conversation between Religious Studies and Sociology of Religion.” American Academy of Religion – San Antonio, Texas (forthcoming, November 2016)

Public Colloquium, “Proportional Prosperity: Class, Language, and Philosemitism in American Evangelicalism.” American Religions Lecture Series – University of North Carolina, Charlotte (April 2016)

Response to Matt Bagger, “Of Cognitive Science, Bricolage, and Brandom.” North American Association for the Study of Religion – Atlanta, Georgia (November 2015)

Respondent, Religion(s) and Neoliberalism Panel, Marxist Section. American Sociological Association, Chicago, Illinois (August 2015)

Roundtable Discussant, “Being the Change: The Civic Learning Faculty Learning Community at MTSU,” at the 2015 ADP/TDC/NASPA Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana (June 2015)

Roundtable Discussion of Candy Gunther Brown’s The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America. Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion – Nashville, Tennessee (March 2015)

“The City: Multidirectional Pedagogy in a Multicultural Milieu.” International Research Network on Religion and Democracy – Notre Dame University, Beirut, Lebanon (December 2013)

“Christianity After Christ: Performing Deconversion Narratives and Progressive Christianity.” Centre for Ethnography Lecture Series – University of Toronto Scarborough (March 2012)

“Talking Textualities: Approaches to and Appropriations of Historical Data by Progressive Christians.” Christianities Seminar – University of California, San Diego (November 2011)

Roundtable Discussion on Pedagogy for Graduate Students. – Canadian Society for the Study of Religion – University of New Brunswick (May 2011)

“Charting the Eschatological Other: A Study of Language and Identity Construction in Progressive Christianity” – London School of Economics, London, England (May 2011)

“The Resolve to Disbelieve: Tracing a Genealogy of Skepticism in Canadian Protestantism.” Wednesday Afternoon Public Lectures – University of Victoria (January 2011)

“A Faithful Heresy: Linguistic Analysis of Eschatological Adverbs for progressive Christians.” Religion Colloquium – University of Toronto (November 2010)

Response to Joel Robbins, “Keeping God’s Distance: Sacrifice, Possession and the Problem of Religious Mediation.” Religion, Culture, Politics Jackman Working Group – University of Toronto (September 2010)

The Gospel of Thomas and Other Gnostic Texts.” Guest Lecture to RLG241: Early Christian Writings –University of Toronto (November 2008)

Round Table Discussant. “The Study of Religion in the Public Sphere.” Centre for the Study of Religion Graduate Student Symposium – University of Toronto (April 2008)


Public Lectures and Community Presentations

“How to Think and Talk Christian: A Linguistic Exploration of the Church’s Use and Misuse of Words.” Cordova Bay United Church – Victoria, British Columbia (June 2013)

“Saving Christianity from Itself: A Case Study of the Faithful Heretic.” Victoria Secular Humanist Association – Victoria, British Columbia (February 2011)

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Awards

Recent Awards and Grants

2017 - MTSU Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award

2017 - MTSU Outstanding EXL Faculty Award

2016 - Wabash Summer Fellowship Project

2016 - Online Course Development Grant, MTSU

2015-2016 - Wabash Teaching and Learning Workshop Fellowship

2015 - MTSU Provost’s Faculty Development Grant

2015 - American Academy of Religion Individual Research Grant

2014 - MTSU Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award

Research/Scholarly Activity

Dr. King's research contributes to the Anthropology of Christianity and challenges some of the core assumptions that scholars of religion make about Christian beliefs, practices, and identity. This work provides a critical methodology that can be translated into classroom discussions that engage issues surrounding intersections between religion, politics, gender and popular culture.

Her first book project (under contract with NYU Press) examines the reading practices and alternative r...

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Dr. King's research contributes to the Anthropology of Christianity and challenges some of the core assumptions that scholars of religion make about Christian beliefs, practices, and identity. This work provides a critical methodology that can be translated into classroom discussions that engage issues surrounding intersections between religion, politics, gender and popular culture.

Her first book project (under contract with NYU Press) examines the reading practices and alternative rituals employed by liberal and progressive Christians to negotiate questions of faith and tradition in relation to biblical scholarship, scientific empiricism, and progressive politics. Dr. King argues that in so doing, progressive Christians construct a new way of being Christian that simultaneously departs from but emerges out of evangelical Christian modalities.

In addition, she is currently completing ethnographic fieldwork examining a movement known as Jewish Affinity Christianity. This project, “Jesus, Judaism, and Evangelical Rabbis,” is a multi-sited ethnography and has received funding from the American Academy of Religion Individual Research Grant program and from Middle Tennessee State University’s FRCAC program. This project looks at the ways that evangelical Christians make use of Jewish practices and traditions as a means of gaining access to Jesus. Its scholarly framework draws analogies between this movement and the Prosperity Gospel examining religious practices’ intersections with economies and theories of affect.

Dr. King completed her PhD in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation, The New Heretics: Popular Theology, Progressive Christianity and Protestant Language Ideologies is an ethnographic and linguistic analysis of the development of progressive Christianity in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. After completing her PhD, Dr. King held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Initiative in Religious Practices and Practical Theology at Emory University.

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In the Media

Interviews, Quotations, and Consultations

April 2017 - "MTSU to be first public university in Middle Tennessee to offer religious studies major," MTSU Sidelines.

April 2017 - "MTSU Depart...

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Interviews, Quotations, and Consultations

April 2017 - "MTSU to be first public university in Middle Tennessee to offer religious studies major," MTSU Sidelines.

April 2017 - "MTSU Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies hosts lecture on the study of sound, religion," MTSU Sidelines. 

March 2017 - “Beer Drinkers Guide to God,” Daily News Journal.

March 2014 - “God at the box office: Biblical-based films flood theaters,” Daily News Journal.

April 2014 - “Easter customs often borrowed: Christians adopted symbols, traditions from several different cultures,” Daily News Journal.

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Courses

Religious Studies Courses

  • RS 2030: Religion and Society (offered Fall 2017)
  • RS 3020: Comparative Religion (offered Spring 2018)
  • RS 3030: Mapping Religious Diversity
  • RS 3050: Rites of Passage (offered Spring 2018)
  • RS 3600: Religion and Film (offered Summer 2018, online)
  • RS 4010: Global Christianity
  • RS 4020: Jesus of Nazareth (offered Fall 2017)
  • RS 4050: Judaism, Islam, Christianity (Western Re...
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Religious Studies Courses

  • RS 2030: Religion and Society (offered Fall 2017)
  • RS 3020: Comparative Religion (offered Spring 2018)
  • RS 3030: Mapping Religious Diversity
  • RS 3050: Rites of Passage (offered Spring 2018)
  • RS 3600: Religion and Film (offered Summer 2018, online)
  • RS 4010: Global Christianity
  • RS 4020: Jesus of Nazareth (offered Fall 2017)
  • RS 4050: Judaism, Islam, Christianity (Western Religions)
  • RS 4900: Seminar in Religious Studies  

RS 4800: Directed Study Courses – available with special permission

  • Religion and Science (Fall 2014)
  • Religion, Hybridity and Ancient Mythologies (Fall 2014)
  • Historical Jesus (Spring 2014)
  • Religion, Economics and Critical Theory (Spring 2015)
  • Religion and the Body (Spring 2015)
  • The Ante-Nicene Period in Christian History (Spring 2015)
  • Religion, Identity, and Travel in Israel-Palestine (Summer 2015)
  • Religion and Queer Theory (Fall 2015)
  • Other  

Master of Liberal Arts Program, College of Liberal Arts

  • MALA 6010: Foundations of Liberal Arts – Identity (team taught course)
  • MALA 6040: Thesis Research
  • MALA 6070: American Religions (independent study course)  

MALA Graduate Supervision

  • Keven Lewis, MA student (2015-2018)

Women and Gender Studies Program

  • WGST 2100: Introduction to Women’s Studies (offered Fall 2017, online)

Honor’s College  

  • Honor’s sections of RS2030: Religion and Society
  • Honor's section of RS3020: Comparative Religions (Spring 2018)
  • UH 3000: Honor’s Lecture Series (presenter, Fall 2017)

UH 4900: Honors Independent Study Projects  

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