Program  Information

Michael Taber, Chair
240 895 4900
mstaber@smcm.edu

Penny Shissler, Office Clerk
240 895 2159

Program Highlight

The department offers a major and minor in Philosophy and a major and minor in Religious Studies. As an active and energetic department, we are committed towards an intercultural, international and interdisciplinary understanding of the world. We teach across the traditional fields of philosophy and religious studies, and beyond the cultural divides of East and West. Departmental faculty likes to teach in a variety of venues (Nitze Program; Women, Gender and Sexuality; Environmental Studies; Asian Studies; African and African Diaspora Studies), to take students on study tours (Greece, Germany/Poland, India, Thailand, and, in the future, England and Israel), and to bring questions of global relevance to the campus communities through scheduling events with renowned speakers and activists.

Previous St. Mary's Projects in Philosophy and Religious Studies

St. Mary's Projects 2013-14

  • Armstrong, Martin -- Creating Warriors (and Conservatives): Ideology and the U.S. Military
    (mentor: Sybol Anderson)
  • Bunty, Alexandra -- A Critical Analysis of the Portrayal of Religion in Orange Is the New Black
    (mentor: Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Carrese, Mariana -- Think Inside the Box: American Media and Society
    (mentor: Barrett Emerick)
  • Doherty, Kayleigh -- Overcoming Ignorance: Race, Gender, & the Imperative of Epistemic Interaction
    (mentor: Barrett Emerick)
  • Drake, Nikki -- Showing Signs and Feeding Friction: Oppression, Resistance, and Situated Moral Responsibility
    (mentor: Barrett Emerick)
  • Dreyer, Caitlin -- A Feminist Analysis of the life and works of Catherine of Siena
    (mentor: Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Fryzek, Madeleine -- Buddha's Bhikkhunis: Women's Struggle for Ordination in Theravada Buddhist Thailand
    (mentor: Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Housley, Jennifer -- An Analysis of Conversion through Holocaust Testimony of the USC Shoah Foundation
    (mentor: Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Kazan, John -- Feminism and Zen: A Critique of the Western Mind-Body Dualism
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Paguirigan, Jessica -- Liturgies of the Earth: Rituals of Gardening
    (mentor: Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Rudin, Bryan -- Can Social Justice Survive: Moving Beyond Social Identity in the Modern World
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Trainor, Tripp -- American Disenfranchisement: Race, Moral Responsibility, and Black  Empowerment
    (mentor: Sybol Anderson)
  • Wates, Tyler -- Radical Environmental Activism
    (mentor: Brad Park)

St. Mary’s Projects 2012-2013

  • Bean, Chloe – Flourishing Through Authenticity: Living with an Imperfect Past 
    (mentor: Barrett Emerick)
  • Beyna, Greg -- Absolute Hip Hop 
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Brooke, Evelyn -- The Role of Suffering in the Meaningful Life 
    (mentor: Barrett Emerick)
  • Colson, Keith - Caribbean Identity Stops at the Church Door: The Struggle for Religious Identity on St. Kitts
    (mentor: Björn Krondorfer/Celia Rabinowitz) 
  • Kristy, Dylan – The Kain Sutra: An Exploration of Buddhism Through the Kung Fu Television Series
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Lillie, Margaret -- Imams and Vaccines: Establishing a Common Discourse between Public Health and Islamic Teachings through Polio Eradication in India and Pakistan
    (mentor: Betül Başaran)
  • Lykens, Alex -- Phenomenology of Hope: A Study of Marcel and Sartre
    (mentor: Eric Hall)
  • Malmrose, Andrew – Revisiting Friendship
    (mentor: Barrett Emerick)
  • Masson, Stephen -- The Masters of the Earth
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Silver, Jacob -- A Critical Look at Individualism in Matters of Personal Identity
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Smith, Nathan -- The American Gastronome: Why the Slow Food Ideology Is Needed in the United States
    (mentor: Michael Taber)

St. Mary’s Projects 2011-2012

  • Blocher, Christopher - Metaphysical Sincerity: A discussion of the relationship between faith and integrity comparing works by Albert Camus, Soren Kierkegaard, and Fyodor Dostoevsky
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Coffin, Andrew - Abortion and the Personhood Debate
    (mentor:  John Schroeder
  • Gallant, Easton - The Trolley Problem
  • (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Guffey, Aaron - 
  •  The Good Anarchist: Exploring the Possibility of Positive Political Anarchy

  • (mentor:  John Schroeder)
  • Hallisey, Jeremiah - Getting Under the Skin of Body Modification: A Philosophical Examination of Modern Primitivism
  • (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Levin, Reid - Homosexuality and Halakha in American Orthodox Judaism
  • (mentor: Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Loughran, Brendan - Excellence at the End: Actualizing the Notion of a Good Death
  • (mentor: Sybol Anderson)
  • Malanka, Julia - Portrayals of the Amish in the New York Times 1950-2000
  • (mentor: Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Pruitt, Jennifer - A Feminist Approach to Disability: Rethinking Dependency and the Nature of the Self
  • (mentor:  Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Smith, Susan - A Liberal Arts Education: What’s It to You?
  • (mentor:  Michael Taber)
  • Virga, Michael - The Trumpet Dance and the Murmured Blessing: A Philosophical Examination of the Way Cultural Understandings of Death and Music Determine the Use of Music in a Community's Funeral Tradition
  • (mentor: Brad Park)

 St. Mary's Projects 2010-2011

  • Beal, Nathan - Roots of the Banyan Tree: Environmentalism and the Vision of Auroville
    (mentor: Daniel Meckel)
  • Capers, Camille - The Policy and Ethics of the Death Penalty
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Clothier, Kyle - Between the Bottom Dollar and the Arhat: Thai Buddhist Reform in the Global Market
    (mentor: Björn Krondorfer)
  • French, Aaron - St. Mary's County Church Community Garden Project: An Experiment in Faith Based Community Agriculture
    (mentor: Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Frye, Will - Nataraja: The Construction of a God
    (mentor: Daniel Meckel)
  • Grover, Ishani - Do You Have to Have a Self to Lose a Self?
    (mentor: Daniel Meckel)
  • Jernigan, Kyle - The Boy, the Madman, and the Saint: Transformations in the Life of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa
    (mentor: Daniel Meckel)
  • Lynch, Amelia - Investigations Into Modern American Conceptions of Family Using Queer Theory 
    (mentor: Celia Rabinowitz)
  • Maysonett, Lorenna - America’s Worst Nightmare: Islam and Hip Hop Music
    (mentor: Björn Krondorfer)
  • Pfau, Harris - Free Spirits: Nietzsche's Conception of Freedom and the Self
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Powell, Hillary - Getting the Best of Both Worlds: Children of Jewish-Christian Interfaith Parents
    (mentor: Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Schoming, Ella - Responding Responsibly to the Inevitability of Suffering
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Smith, Allison - Beyond Sex: An Ethical Exaltation of BDSM
    (mentor: Sybol Anderson)
  • Stamm, Michael - Portrayals of Muslims in Indian Cinema: Muslims as Citizens of the Indian 'Nation'
    (mentor: David Ellsworth)

 St. Mary’s Projects 2009-2010

  • Acquaviva, Megan - Her Will, Her Way: Women's Claim to Authority in the Patriarchy of the Catholic Church
    (mentor:  Katharina von Kellenbach)
  • Buttrick, Sarah – The Role of Friendship in Human Happiness
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Castle, Daniel - The Wild Way: Anarchy and Daoism
    (mentor:  Brad Park)
  • Cooke, Zach - One Voice: Reflections on Religion, Culture, Community, and Identity
    (mentor: Björn Krondorfer)               
  • Earlbeck, Jessica - The Possibility of Ecofeminist Politics
    (mentor:  Kate Norlock) 
  • Greenfield, Rhett - Platonic Bodies: Ethics as First Philosophy in Plato's Dialogues
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Hasek, William - The Role of Pedagogy in Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy
    (mentor:  Brad Park)
  • Hinton, Sydneé - The Compatibility of Religion and Politics
    (mentor: Sybol Anderson)
  • Kolm, Richard - Transcendence of Suffering
    (mentor:  Kate Norlock)
  • Manrodt, Peter - The Zen of Farming
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Minor, Allison (ISDM) - Defining Civil Society in the Moroccan Context: Ideals, Traditions and Influences
    (mentor:  Betül Başaran)
  • Pullman, Sean - Meditation and Its Implementation as a Form of Moral Education and Civil Disobedience
    (mentor:  Brad Park)
  • Rader, William - A Deleuzo-Guattarian Analysis of Surrealism
    (mentor: Sybol Anderson)
  • Roper, Megan - Female Physicality and Sanctity in Medieval Hagiographies
    (mentor:  Katharina von Kellenbach/Celia Rabinowitz)
  • Safford, Noel – St. Benedict
    (mentor: Devorah Schoenfeld)
  • Schell, Daniel - Unknown Platonists: Plato's Influence on Gnostic Belief
    (mentor:  Michael Taber)
  • Siegel, Aaron - Regulating Sex
    (mentor: Kate Norlock)

St. Mary's Projects 2008-2009

  • Clemmer, Jill - Learning to Engage in Religious Dialogue: A Collection of Reflections
    (mentor: Katharina Von Kellenbach)
  • Correll, Michael - Can Machines Think?: An Illustrated Guide 
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Doyle, Miriam - Concepts and Approaches to Happiness: Christianity and Buddhism in Thailand
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Fuller, Bethany - Jewish Women in Early Ottoman Empire
    (mentor: Devorah Schoenfeld)
  • Horsey, Allison - Finding Her Way: Women's Leadership in the Pentecostal Church
    (mentor:  Katharina Von Kellenbach)
  • Hurley, Joshua - Fractals, Complexity and Divinity
    (mentor: Bëtul Başaran)
  • Hutchinson, Jeremy - Win-Win Business Ethics
    (mentor: Kate Norlock)
  • Lemley, Paul - Issues of Being, Nothingness and Human Possibility in the works of Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Yogi, Jennifer - Peace, Love and Understanding: Justifying A Books Through Bars Collective at St. Mary's
    (mentor: Kate Norlock)
  • Zuke, Scott - A Deweyan Pedagogical Approach to Development Ethics
    (mentor: Sybol Anderson)

St. Mary's Projects 2007-2008

  • Copley, Julia - Who Is This God Person Anyway?: An Exploration of the Nicene Foundations of Christian Theology
    (mentor: Celia Rabinowitz)
  • Crear, Lisa - Women's Conversion to American Protestant Fundamentalism: The Appeal Of Traditional Gender Roles 
    (mentor: Devorah Schoenfeld)
  • Crehan, Phil - A Shirt with a Bloody Past: An Awakening to Sweatshops and Consumerism
    (mentor: Sybol Anderson)
  • Derdock, Nick - Letters from Prison
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Faith, Jeff - This One's Optimistic: Hope, Morality, and Suicide
    (mentor:  Michael Taber)
  • Ingram, Meg - Leave Me My Honor: Religious Responses to Women Raped During War
    (mentor: Bëtul Başaran)
  • Lumkes, Maggie - Educating Women in India: A Work in Progress
    (mentor: Dan Meckel)
  • Owens, S.E. - Ways of Knowing: An Alternative and Holistic Approach in Cultural Studies
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Pollock, Adam - The Justification of Religious Authority in Christianity: A Hobbesian Argument from Power
    (mentor: Sybol Anderson)
  • Sellouk, Jamie - Dinner with Philosophy
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Silverman, Sophie - Ancient and Modern Interpretations of Eve: Popular Temptress or Ignored Heroine?
    (mentor: Bëtul Basaran)
  • Sottek, T.C. - Finite Ethics
    (mentor: Brad Park) 
  • Sutt, Christina - Illuminating Ethics via Fantasy Fiction
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Woods, Russell - The American Way: A Polemic
    (mentor: John Schroeder)

St. Mary's Projects 2006-07

  • Conner, Brendan - Living, Being:  Experiments in Life and Thought
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • DeViney, Meredith - From Kathy to Khadija
    (mentor: Björn Krondorfer)
  • Gregg, Andrew - Worth Living: A Fictional Narrative
    (mentor: Kate Norlock)
  • Goldsmith, Michael - Empty Selves: A Zen Buddhist Analysis of the Dissociative Self
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Gorman, Holly - Tubaab in a Land of Sufis: A Creative Exploration of Islam in Senegal
    (mentor:  Bëtul Başaran)
  • Heliotis, Peter - Metaphysic of the Smile:  A Journey to Overcome an Existential Crisis
    (mentor: Sybol Anderson)
  • Iliff, Nick - The Philosophy of Homosexuality
    (mentor: Kate Norlock)
  • Kalman, Chris - Seeking Out New Views on the Self: Tackling the Many Crises Facing an Increasingly Interconnected World
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Lay, Jason - Intimately Here: Presence in Zen and Psychoanalysis
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Parks, Kevin - Ethics of the Other
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Poling, Greg - Foreigners and Pure Land Buddhism: Is It Still Buddhism?
    (mentor: Brad Park
  • Ryder, Taghi - Spirituality in the Dying Process: Barriers to its Delivery in Contemporary Healthcare
    (mentor: Katharina Von Kellenbach)
  • Schepp, Stephanie - Adding a Branch to the Tree of Midrash: An Explanation and Exploration of a Traditional Genre
    (mentor: Katharina Von Kellenbach)
  • Sinclair, Oscar - A Green and Growing Thorn Tree: Religion and Nationalism in South Africa 1870-1948
    (mentor: Devorah Schoenfeld)
  • Stearns, Easton - Moral Meanderings in the Quantum World
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Vorhis, Chris - Patriarchal Lineage in Early Chan
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • White, Hannah - The Ideal Islam: The Appeal of the Past and Medina as Perfection
    (mentor: Bëtul Başaran)

St. Mary's Projects 2005-06

  • Asper, Charles - Fighting Hunger: Can We Make a Difference? 
    (mentor: Joan Poor)
  • Baker, Matthew - Martyr or Murderer: Suicide Bombing and Islam
    (mentor: Bëtul Başaran)
  • Bradbard, Stefanie - Jewish Communities in St. Mary's County
    (mentor: Björn Krondorfer)
  • Brooks, Durryle - The Spirituality of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Re-claiming the Sanctity of All Humanity
    (mentor: Katharina Von Kellenbach)
  • Eagen, Kevin - The Nothingness of Time: Nishitani Keiji's "Buddhist Conception"
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Fleming, Tim - Reverse Orientalism in the Philosophy and Religion of "Neon Genesis Evangelion"
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Gervais, Jenny - Celebrating Legal Adulthood
    (mentor: Katharina Von Kellenbach)
  • Hemphill, Tim & Hoover, Jon - Tuberous Perspectives: Ginger, Kudzu, and the State
    (mentor:  Brad Park)
  • Jarboe, Karen - The Philosophical Influences of Gender on the Body
    (mentor: Kate Norlock)
  • Montefusco, Peter - Living in Accord with Nature in Stoicism and Daoism
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Moss, Daniel - Psychoanalysis and the Cemetery Dancers: Understanding Sufi Mysticism and Subjectivity
    (mentor: Dan Meckel)
  • Perilla, Rob - Reflections on War: The Iraqi Conflict
    (mentor: Kate Norlock)
  • Posey, Sarah - Philosophy for Children
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Pressley, Kacie - Changing Locations: An Exploration of Love, Laughter, and Life after Thailand
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Prybylski, Nate - A Lesson in Attachment
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Siler, Jeffrey Darrion - Philosophy of Play: Life, Aesthetics, and Ludic Becoming
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Stockmeyer, Edwin - The Experience of Music
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Swearengen, Ken - The Ethical Implications of Meditation and Consciousness
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Szkil, Andrea - Mourning and Memorialization in the Wake of Genocide
    (mentor: Björn Krondorfer)
  • Turner, Chelsea - The Philosophy of Virginia Woolf
    (mentor: Kate Norlock)
  • Tyree, Adrian - The Philosophy/Nature of Love: The Buddhist Understanding of Love and Non-Attachment
    (mentor: Brad Park)

St. Mary's Projects 2004-05

  • Allen, P.J. - What My Death Means to Me
    (mentor: Alan Paskow)
  • Asper, Charles - The Difference between What Is Seen and What Is Expressed in a Photograph
    (mentor: Alan Paskow)
  • Babson, Jill - Eating Christian: Finding God through Food
    (mentor: Björn Krondorfer)
  • Clark, Paul - Calder: A Work of Fiction
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Heckwolf, Philip - An Anxious Exploration of American Indian Philosophy
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Hershfeld, Ryan - What's So Funny? Your Existence. Laughter as the Response to Absurdity
    (mentor: Brad Park)
  • Keller, Darryl - Ancient Greece, Modern America, and the Application of Military Ethics
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Klein, John - Compassionate Friendship: Exploring a Meaningful Understanding of the Nature of Love
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Leander, Erik - Emptiness and Nothingness: an Examination of Self and Identity in Anti-Essentialist Philosophy
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Nicolas, Ashton - Women's Sexuality: A Philosophical Dilemma
    (mentor: Kathryn Norlock)
  • Schultz, Anthony - Philosophy of Education
    (mentor: Kathryn Norlock)
  • Southgate, Karl - The Concept of Despair in Kierkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death and Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment
    (mentor: Alan Paskow)
  • Waller, David - Life and Death: A Comparative Study of Abortion and Capital Punishment
    (mentor: Michael Taber)

St. Mary's Projects 2003-04

  • Dunn, Zachary - A Sophistical Manifesto
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Farrell, James - Confessions: My Father, Myself
    (mentor: Alan Paskow)
  • Folks, Jesse - Fictionalizing Philosophy
    (mentor: Kathryn Norlock)
  • Goodyear, Tiffany - The Politics of Art in the NEA
    (mentor: Juliana Pilon)
  • Jauregui, Carla - Contradiction in Asian Philosophy
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • McCarty, Katherine - The War on Drugs: An Analysis
    (mentor: Kathryn Norlock)
  • Miller, Daniel - Emptiness: Philosophical and Personal Reflections
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Pearson, Daniel - What Is Postmodernism?
    (mentor: Alan Paskow)
  • Sanders, Stacy - The Definition of Death
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • White, Robert - Afrocentricity and Philosophy
    (mentor: Michael Taber)

    St. Mary's Projects 2002-03
     
  • Byers, Stephen - Justice for the Great Betrayer
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Gaginis, John - Commercial Music: Code Red
    (mentor: Kathryn Norlock)
  • Hall, Lauren - The Ethical Treatment of Shelter Animals
    (mentor: Kathryn Norlock)
  • Kelly, Garrett - Home-Grown Philosophy
    (mentor: Kathryn Norlock)
  • Kullberg, Kathryn - The Depiction of Animals in Literature
    (mentor: Kathryn Norlock)
  • Nolle, Kacey - Feminism and the Bible in Dialog
    (mentor: Katharina Von Kellenbach)
  • Sharp, Ali - Establishing the Foundation of Buddhism in Thailand: A Literary Comparison
    (mentor: Thornton Kline)
  • Weaver, Adam - The Life of Relation: A Critical Exegesis of the Philosophy of Martin Buber
    (mentor: Alan Paskow)

St. Mary's Projects 2001-02

  • Diedrich, Bridgette - Non-Christian Approaches to Death Relevant to Hospice Care
    (mentor: Melvin Endy)
  • Fefer, Anna - Jews, Altruism, and the State
    (mentor: Stephen Stern)
  • Sanford, Rachael - The Power of Fear
    (mentor: Sara Ebenreck)
  • Scott, Mercedes - Revolution in Life and Story
    (mentors: Lucille Clifton, Jeffrey Hammond, Stephen Stern)
  • Sheils, Will - Philosophy Applied to Children's Literature
    (mentor: Stephen Stern)
  • Williams, Litsa - (Anti-) Autonomy, Children, and Health Care Ethics
    (mentors: Melvin Endy and Kathryn Norlock)

    St. Mary's Projects 2000-01
  • Byrnes, Elizabeth - Relative Morality in Violent Crime
    (mentor: Michael Taber)
  • Coursen, Jack - Reflections on Japan
    (mentor: John Schroeder)
  • Deming, Nicole - Stem Cells: Biological and Ethical Issues
    (mentors: Karen Crawford and Michael Taber)
  • Moser, Jonathan - "Commencement": The Making of an Album
    (mentor: Alan Paskow)
  • Provonche, Sarah - Biblical Leadership Roles of Women Explored through Christian Midrash
    (mentors: Melvin Endy and Steven Stern)
  • Thomassen, Benjamin - Rapture: The Rave as an Affirmation of Dionysian Energy 
    (mentor: Michael Taber)