Encountering Contemporary Paganisms

Conversation with Murphy Pizza, Ph.D.

Date & Time:

Thursday, October 19, 2017
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
Thursday, October 19, 12:00 noon


free and open to the public


Iversen Hearth Room (room 340), Anderson Student Center
University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Campus
2115 Summit Ave., St. Paul, MN


refreshments and cookies provided; please bring your own lunch

Murphy Pizza, Ph.D.

Murphy Pizza, Ph.D.

This session is part three of an eight part series running through the 2017-2018 academic year titled Encountering Religious and Cultural Traditions: A Series Fostering Religious Literacy and Interreligious Understanding. In this session, Dr. Murphy Pizza will teach about the lived experience of Contemporary Paganisms, some common misconceptions and stereotypes people have about them, and her recent publication Paganistan: Contemporary Pagan Community in Minnesota's Twin Cities (Ashgate, 2014).

Renowned scholar of religion Wilfred Cantwell Smith argued that in order to “understand Buddhists, we must not look at something called Buddhism but at the world so far as possible through Buddhist eyes.” Likewise, in order to understand Judaism, Hinduism, and so on, we must not look at Judaism, Hinduism and so on, but at the worldviews of Jews, Hindus, and so on. In his New York Times Bestseller, Religious Literacy, Stephen Prothero writes “I am convinced that one needs to know something about the world’s religions in order to be truly educated,” and argues that “you need religious literacy in order to be an effective citizen.” This year-long series aims to foster religious literacy and interreligious understanding by examining the world through the eyes of religious scholars and practitioners from various traditions. They will share their own lived experiences of their traditions and also address common stereotypes and misconceptions.

Murphy Pizza, Ph.D. is a cultural anthropologist with a specialization in comparative religion and a background in studio art. Her teaching and academic background includes anthropology, ethnic studies, art, humanities, religion, philosophy, social action, natural and social sciences, and research methods. She is current president, and past regional officer, of the Upper Midwest Section of the American Academy of Religion. She is the author of Paganistan: Contemporary Pagan Community in Minnesota's Twin Cities (Ashgate, 2014), co-editor of The Brill Handbook of Contemporary Paganism (2009), and contributor to Sacred Schisms (Cambridge, 2009) and Nordic New Religions (Brill 2015). She regularly publishes and presents on New Religious Movements.

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.

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