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Department of Religious Studies|College of Arts & Sciences

Mary Keller
Assistant Academic Professional Lecturer

UW Recognition

2015 Hollon Award for Teaching Excellence in Off-Campus Programs


B.A. Williams College 1987; M.A. Syracuse University 1992; Ph,D. 2002; Adjunct Associate Professor of Religious Studies 2003.

Mary Keller works at the intersection of feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and indigenous studies theory in order to study the relationship of religious lives to struggles for meaning and power.  She teaches Introduction to World Religions, African Spirits in the New World, African American Religious Culture, and Gilgamesh to the Bomb. Keller  emphasizes the geographical, historical and social context in which religious lives are embedded and then focuses on questions of personhood within religious traditions. Current research  examines the role of sacred land in a world of global capital, money and agency, and recent developments in theory and method in the study of spirit possession.


"Indigenous Studies and the Sacred" in American Indian Quarterly, Vol 38, No. 1

The Hammer and the Flute: Women, Power and Spirit Possession, Winner of the "Best First Book in the History of Religions, 2003," American Academy of Religions

Re-cognizing W. E. B. Du Bois in the 21st Century

"Is the RAW cooked?"  at the Religion in the American West blog, March 19, 2012

Project editor, "Special Issue: Hip-Hop and Religion," Culture and Religion, 2009: 10.1

Guest editor with Paul Johnson, "Special Issue: The Work of Possession(s)," Culture and Religion, 2006: 7.2.


"The Indigeneity of Spirit Possession" in Current Anthropology Supplements, Central European University Press, New York and Budapest, 2015

Courses Taught

REL 1000  Introduction to World Religions
AAST/RELI 2450 African Traditional Religions
AAST/RELI 3260 African Spirits in the New World
AAST/RELI 4100 African American Religious Culture
AS3150  Gilgamesh to the Bomb


Apsáalooke (Crow) Pipe Ceremony on Foretop's Father, (aka Heart Mountain), Big Horn Basin, Wyoming

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