Visiting Assistant Professor
Ashley Purpura is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Religious Studies in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. She received her Ph.D. in the History of Christianity from Fordham University in 2014, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School in 2009, and a B.A. from Florida State University in 2007. Dr. Purpura specializes in the study of authority, gender, and identity in Byzantine and Syriac Christian texts and religious cultures, as well as in contemporary Eastern Orthodox Christian thought and practice. With her current book project, she reevaluates Byzantine constructions of ecclesiastical hierarchy in light of critical theory to posit a historical trajectory of hierarchical discourse that is foremost constituted by the communication of divinity. Her other research interests include: genres of spiritual praxis (hymnography, hagiography, liturgy/ritual, asceticism, and mysticism), women in traditionally “conservative” religions, and the conception of religious identities “in diaspora.” Dr. Purpura teaches introductory surveys and thematic seminars on a range of topics in the Religious Studies Program such as: Religion and Violence, Gender in Medieval Religion, and Introduction to the Study of Religion.