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Mary Keller

Associate Academic Professional Lecturer


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.

Picture of Mary Keller

UW Recognition

2015 Hollon Award for Teaching Excellence in Off-Campus Programs

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
FYS 1101.40 Gilgamesh to the Bomb to Climate Change


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


Media  - Film by Isaac Mendoza depicting the summer field course RELI 4961: Heart Mountain as Icon of American Landscape


  • "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.
  • “Spirit Possession” Brill Handbook of Spiritualism and Channeling, ed. Cathy Gutierrez (2015).
  • “Indigenous Religions: From the Origin to the Future of Religious Studies” McMillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks, ed. Jeffrey Kripal (2016). 

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