Christopher W. Chase


Dept:Philosophy & Religious Studies
Office:036 Catt
2224 Osborn Dr.
Ames IA


Christopher W. Chase currently serves as Senior Lecturer of Religious Studies. He previously taught at Grandview University, Michigan State University and Albion College. An interdisciplinary scholar by training, he has published in the study of religion, ethnicity and music, as well as emergent theologies. Chase's current projects focus on the roles of religious musics in the lives of American Hindus, African-American Adventists, countercultural Pagans and Mormon Amerindians. In addition, he serves as Review Editor for Pomegranate: The International Journal for Pagan Studies.

Research Areas

American Religious History and Culture; Africana Religious Traditions; Religion and Music; Emergent Religion


PhD Michigan State University (2009), American Studies
MA Arizona State University (2001), Religious Studies
BA Oklahoma State University (1995), Philosophy, Religious Studies

Courses Taught

Religion in America
Introducing World Religions
African-American Religious Experience
Independent Studies (Religion, Music and Health, Transnational Jainism, Scientology)

At previous institutions
Introducing Western Religions
Introducing Eastern Religions
Religion and Conflict in Global Literatures
American Culture and Communication
U.S. History to 1876
U.S. History 1877 to Present
Western Humanities from Renaissance through Postmodernism

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Articles
"Square gnosis, beat eros: Alan Watts and the occultism of Aquarian religion.” Self and Society 43 (2015): 322-334.

“Prophetics In The Key of Allah: Towards an Understanding of Islam in Jazz.” Jazz Perspectives 4 (2010): 157-182.

“Be Pagan Once Again: Folk Music, Heritage, and Socio-sacred Networks in Contemporary American Paganism.” The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies 8 (2006): 146-160.

Peer-Refereed Book Chapters
“Sacramental Song: Theological Imagination in the Religious Music of American Pagans.” In Pop Pagans: Paganism and Popular Music, ed. Donna Weston and Andy Bennett, 162-175. Bristol, CT: Acumen Publishing, 2013.

Reference Book Entries
“Jazz.” In Encyclopedia of Muslim-Americans, ed. Edward E. Curtis IV, 308-310. Infobase Publishing, 2010.

Book Reviews
Kristine Juncker, Afro-Cuban Religious Arts: Popular Expressions of Cultural Inheritance in Espiritismo and Santeria. Tallahassee: University Press of Florida, 2014. In Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies 16 (2014): 125-129.

Gary Shepherd and Gordon Shepherd, Binding Earth and Heaven: Patriarchal Blessings in the Prophetic Discourse of Early Mormonism. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2012. In Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 18 (2014): 115-117.

Paul Reid-Bowen, Goddess as Nature: Towards a Philosophical Theology. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2007. In Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies 11 (2009): 290-292.

Selected Presentations

“Mercy at Her Feet: Prayer and Gender in the Devotional Music of Paramahansa Yogananda.” Upper Midwest American Academy of Religion Regional Conference, St. Paul, MN, April 2013.

“Home and Back Again: Thealogical Community and Reciprocity in Pagan Liturgical Music.” American Academy of Religion Annual National Meeting, Chicago, IL, November 2012.

“’Where He Leads Me’”: The Changing Role of Music Among African-American Adventists.” Upper Midwest American Academy of Religion Regional Conference, St. Paul, MN, April 2012.

“Building a California Bildung: Theodore Roszak’s and Alan Watts’s Contributions to Pagan Hermeneutics.” American Academy of Religion Annual National Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 2011.

"Song of Mari: Male Becoming Masculine in American Paganism, 1970-1977." American Academy of Religion Annual National Meeting, Atlanta, GA, November 2010.

"Music, Aesthetics and Legitimation: Keith Jarrett and the Fourth Way." Midwest Popular Culture Association and Midwest American Culture Association Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, October 2010.

"'Come Come Ye Saints': Mormon Thematics in Ford and Larson." Upper Midwest American Academy of Religion Regional Conference, St. Paul, MN, April 2010.

“We Travel the Spaceways: Scientology and ‘Applied Religious Music.’” Midwest Popular Culture Association Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, OH, October 2008.

“Indigenizing and Assimilating: Hindus and Druids in Deloria's Landscape.” Midwest American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, River Forest, IL, April 2008.

“Multivalent Macumba: Cannibalism, Modernismo, and Psychopomposity in Literature and Film.” 27th Annual Meeting of the Southwest/Texas Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association, Albuquerque, NM, February, 2006.