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Faculty Profiles

Department: Philosophy, Religion & Classics

Mark McClishMark McClish

Assistant Professor of Religion


Berte Humanities Building 308

Contact Information:

Box 549025
Birmingham-Southern College
900 Arkadelphia Rd
Birmingham, AL 35254
Office Phone: (205) 226-7833
Office Fax: (205) 226-3089

Brief Career Background:

2009-2010 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Ripon College, Ripon WI
2010-pres Assistant Professor of Religion, Birmingham-Southern College

Educational Background:

2009 Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin, Asian Cultures and Languages
2000 M.A. The University of Texas at Austin, Asian Cultures and Languages
1998 B.A. Indiana University, Religious Studies

Areas of Academic Interest:

  • Classical South Asian Religions
  • Religion, Law, and Statecraft
  • Contemplative Traditions
  • Nonviolence

Research Interests:

  • Sanskrit Language and Literature
  • Classical South Asian Religion
  • South Asian Statecraft and Law
  • Religion and Politics

Courses Taught:

SK 101 & 102 Elementary Sanskrit

RE 222 Religions of Asia
A survey of the major religious traditions of Asia including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Shinto. This course explores the major concepts, doctrines, and practices of each tradition in historical perspective. Emphasis will be placed on the examination of cross cultural religious categories within each, such as salvation, ritual, gender, or ecology.

RE 275 Buddhism
A study of the Buddhist traditions from the life of the Buddha to modern times. The course explores the doctrines and practices of Buddhist traditions in historical and geographic context. Emphasis is placed on the how the study of Buddhism in historical context contributes to our understanding of cross-cultural categories in the study of religion as well as the concept of "religion" itself.

RE 276 Hinduism
A study of the Hindu traditions from prehistory to modern South Asia and the era of globalization. This course examines the diversity and unity of those South Asian religious dispositions, beliefs, and practices referred to collectively in the modern period as "Hinduism." Emphasis will be placed on how the study of Hinduism challenges and refines our understanding of the concept of religion.

RE 345 Power and Religion

RE 353 Nonviolence
A study of the concept of nonviolence in spiritual, ethical, and political perspective. This course examines the virtue of nonviolence within religious traditions, particularly within the pacifist religion of Jainism, and seeks to understand how personal commitment to nonviolence operates within greater spiritual and ethical dispositions. It also examines the evolution of nonviolence as a political strategy for the resolution of conflict from the interpersonal to the national. Emphasis is placed on the 1963 civil rights campaign in Birmingham and the study of the strategy and tactics of nonviolent direct action (a Leadership Studies designated course).

RE 360 Understanding Religion: History, Theory, and Method
An investigation of the concept of religion as well as the theory and methods that define the academic study of religion. This course is a critical inquiry into the origins and evolution of the concept of religion and its use as category in the study of the human experience. This inquiry is carried out by examining the work of the major theorists of religion from Marx and Freud to Eliade and Geertz. Examination of these theorists highlights the various methodological approaches to the study of religion. Emphasis will be placed on the evolution of new approaches to the study of religion under the conditions of postmodernity.