Dr. Andrea McComb Sanchez (Ph.D. in Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara) specializes in Native American religious traditions, religion in the Southwest, religion and colonialism in the U.S., and religion and the environment. She is a member of the American Indian Studies Graduate Interdisciplinary Program and an affiliate of the Institute of the Environment. Dr. McComb Sanchez’s current book project (under contract with the University of Nebraska Press), Of Corn and Catholicism: A History of Religion and Power in Pueblo Indian Patron Saint Feast Days, focuses on the imposition, adaptation, and eventual appropriation of Catholicism by Pueblo Indians through their development of the Patron Saint Feast Days, and analyzes how these Feast Days are both a relaxation and a maintenance of boundaries between Catholicism and older Pueblo traditions and ceremonies. Dr. McComb Sanchez teaches courses on Native American religious traditions, religion and culture in the Southwest, religion and ecology, and theory and method in religious studies.
Native American Religious Traditions, Religion in the Southwest, and Religion and the Environment
The objective of this course is to introduce you to the study of the phenomenon called 'religion'. What makes people religious? How is religion defined? What are the different approaches to understanding religion in all of its diversity? Through a reading of texts from diverse backgrounds and approaches, this course will illuminate the complex and multi-dimensional elements of religion, and how the study of religion can open up new ways of seeing the world.
This course offers a broad introduction to the diversity and complexity of American Indian religious traditions historically and in the contemporary. Students will explore general themes in the study of American Indian religions and spirituality along with analyzing specific examples. Of particular importance are the history and effects of colonialism and missionization on Native people, continuing struggles for religious freedom and cultural survival, and historical and contemporary religious responses to social, cultural, political, and geographical changes.