Senior Lecturer, Director of Jewish Studies Program

Professor Andrus specializes in Religion in America, with a particular interest in religion and popular culture. She majored in religion at Oberlin College in Ohio where she finished her B.A. in 1992, and completed a Masters degree in 1995 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. She received her PhD. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2006. Her dissertation on the relationship between evangelicalism and bluegrass music is titled High Lonesome Gospel: The Role of Evangelicalism in Shaping an American Music Culture. Her research presently focuses on fan cultures and the religious symbols and uses they find in invented or imagined worlds like Battlestar Galactica, the Big Lebowski, and LEGO Bionicles. She is also pursuing projects in the role of religion in public discourses about diversity, pluralism, and politics in America, particularly how religion has been and will be taught in public schools, and how Vermont’s religious landscape has changed over time.

“Religion surrounds us in America, and more and more has taken center stage in our national dialogue through politics and entertainment. In order to be engaged citizens of our communities all of us must be aware of the undercurrents of religious history. Likewise, in a world of instantaneous communications across geographical, linguistic, and cultural boundaries, understanding religious concepts allows us to navigate differences more competently and with greater respect and understanding. Teaching the introductory course in Comparative religion, and courses like “Religion and Popular Culture in America” are particularly rewarding to me, as I find the students continue to challenge me with their own perspectives, just as the material challenges them to broaden their idea of what religion is and what role it plays in our society.”

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Religions of America

Education

  • Ph.D. in Religion Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • M.A. with Distinction in Religion and Culture, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • B.A. in Religion, Oberlin College

Contact

Phone:
  • (802) 656-0227
Office Location:

481 Main Street, Room 205

Office Hours:

Thursdays 11:30-1 and by appointment

Courses Taught

REL 020 - D2: Comparing Religions (Syllabus) Comparison of diverse practices and beliefs from selected religious traditions and cultures. Credits: 3.0 

REL 095 (TAP): Creating Community: Religion in the US

REL 128 - D1: Religion in America Study of the relationship between religion, the cultural ethos, and identity in America. Credits: 3.0

REL 129 - Religion & Pop Culture in the U.S.  (Syllabus) Introduces concepts and theories developed in religion about the intersection of religion and popular culture in contemporary America. Credits: 3.0 

REL 196: Judaism in America