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Leslie Dorrough Smith
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Dr. Leslie Dorrough Smith joined our department as an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies in 2011 and teaches courses in World Religions, Islam, Feminist Philosophy, Introduction to Religious Studies as well as interdisciplinary studies and Women's & Gender studies courses.

Dr. Dorrough Smith's most recent research focuses on the cultural significance of American Conservative Protestant rhetoric, with special emphasis on the Christian Right. Many scholars who study the Christian Right (NCR) often account for the movement's popularity and distinction by pointing to its absolutist moral positions, its religious fervor, and its selective embrace of seemingly anti-modernist platforms. Unlike other theories of conservative power that focus on the allure of such moral absolutes, Dr. Dorrough Smith's work shows how these absolutes are really not the defining quality of the movement. Rather, they are the byproduct of a certain type of rhetoric (which she calls "chaos rhetoric") that uses chaos, rather than order, imagery to induce persuasion and thereby secure social power. Her work focuses on the linguistic engineering involved in producing chaos rhetoric, and how such movements depend on the strategic manipulation of specific cultural symbols to naturalize and "sell" their political interests.

Religious Studies & Women's Studies (Dual Emphasis); Sociology of Religion, American Protestant Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism: 1865-present, Feminist and Gender Theory, Discourse and Rhetoric Studies

Method and Theory in Religious Studies, Pluralism and Religious Tolerance

"Crafting Chaos: How the Rhetorical Structure of Conservative Protestant Discourse Drives American 'Moral' Culture"

Gender and Modern American Christianity
World Religions
Introduction to the Study of Religion
The Life and Teachings of Jesus
Introduction to Religion
Religion in America
Introduction to University Life
Feminist Philosophy

Edited Books
Co-Editor (with Russell McCutcheon), "Religious Experience: A Reader." London: Equinox. (forthcoming)

2004 "Living In the World, But Not of the World: Understanding Evangelical Support for The Passion of the Christ," J. Shawn Landres and Michael Berenbaum (eds). Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press/Rowman & Littlefield.

2008 "What's In a Name?: Scholarship and the Pathology of Conservative Protestantism," in Method and Theory in the Study of Religion, vol. 20, pp. 191-211.
2002 "Divine Order, Divine Myth: Uncovering the Mythical Construction of Gender Ideals in Protestant Fundamentalist Circles," in ARC: The Journal of the Faculty of Religious Studies, McGill University, vol. 30, pp. 59-83.
2003 "Complicating Things: Material Culture and the Classroom," in Spotlight on Teaching, Religious Studies News, AAR Edition, 18/3.

2006 Sharma, Arvind (ed). Methodology in Religious Studies: The Interface with Women's Studies. Albany: SUNY, 2002. Religious Studies Review 32:1.
2004 Giggie, John M. and Diane Watson (eds). Faith in the Market: Religion and the Rise of Urban Commercial Culture. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002. Religious Studies Review, 30:1.
2004 Jung, Patricia Beattie, Mary E. Hunt, and Radhika Balakrishnan (eds). Good Sex: Feminist Perspectives from the World's Religions. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2001. Religious Studies Review, 30:1.
1999 Young, Lawrence A. (ed). Rational Choice Theory and Religion: Summary and Assessment. Routledge: New York, 1997. Religious Studies Review, 25:1.

Book Reviews
2005 Jakobsen, Janet, and Ann Pellegrini. Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004. Epoche, 23:1, 125-6.
2004 Percy, Martyn and Ian Jones (eds). Fundamentalism: Church and Society. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2002. Culture and Religion 5:3, 413-16.

Editorial Work
2003 Editorial Assistant, Garces-Foley, Kathleen (ed). Death and Religion in a Changing World. New York: ME Sharpe, 2005.
1998 Editorial Assistant, The Council of Societies for the Study of Religion Bulletin Russell McCutcheon, editor.

Avila University
11901 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64145
Religious Studies & Philosophy
Ken Parsons, Ph.D., Chair, Religious Studies & Philosophy