Religious Studies Committee


Religious Studies Committee
Brian Birch, Director, Religious Studies
Brian D. Birch
Director, Religious Studies Program
Brian Birch received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Philosophy from the University of Utah (1990, 1992) and completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion and Theology from Claremont Graduate University in 1998. He specializes in the philosophy of religion, ethics, religious pluralism, and comparative Christian thought. He is the founding editor of Teaching Ethics and Element: The Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology. His current book project is entitled Mormonism Among Christian Theologies for Oxford University Press.
Dennis Potter, Associate Director, Religious Studies Program
Dennis Potter
Associate Director, Religious Studies Program
Dennis Potter is an associate professor of philosophy at Utah Valley University where he specializes in the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of logic, and the Vienna Circle. Dennis has published articles on philosophical theology and on the nature of diagrammatic argument in mathematics. His current research is focused on religious diversity and the problem of heterodoxy. He pursued graduate study in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Florida State University, where he completed a Masters degree.
Boyd J. Peterson, Program Coordinator, Mormon Studies
Boyd J. Petersen
Program Coordinator, Mormon Studies
Boyd Petersen received his Bachelors degree from Brigham Young University in French and International Relations. He went on to obtain a Masters from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah, both in Comparative Literature. His  research emphases are Romanticism and religious literature. He regularly teaches Literature of the Sacred and Mormon Literature in the Department of English and Literature. He is the author of Hugh Nibley: A Consecrated Life and currently serves as President of the Association for Mormon Letters and as Book Review Editor for the Journal of Mormon History.
Laura Guererro, Assistant Professor Philosophy
Laura Guerrero
Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Laura Guerrero received an M.A. from the University of Hawaii-Manoa and a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico (both in philosophy). With specialties in Buddhist philosophy, classical Indian philosophy, epistemology, and metaphysics, her dissertation is entitled Dharmakīrti’s Pragmatism: A Buddhist Account of Truth and Experience. Her most recent project is entitled "Conventional Truth and Intentionality in the Work of Dharmakīrti."
Gae Lyn Henderson, Assistant Professor, English
Gae Lyn Henderson
Assistant Professor, English
Gae Lyn Henderson received her Masters in English from Brigham Young University and her Ph.D. in the same from the University of Utah. She has served as the Writing Program Coordinator here at UVU and teaches both upper and lower division writing courses.
John Hunt, Assistant Professor, History
John Hunt
Assistant Professor, History
John Hunt received his Ph.D. in Early Modern Italian and Renaissance History from Ohio State University. He specializes in popular culture, Sede Vacante, ritual and ceremony in Renaissance Italy. He has published in a variety of journals including "The Conclave from the 'Outside In': Rumor, Disorder, and Speculation in Rome During Early Modern Papal Elections" in the Journal of Early Modern History; and "Patrons and Artists in the Italian Renaissance" in Exploring the European Past.
David Knowlton. Assistant Professor, Anthropology
David Knowlton
Assistant Professor, Anthropology
David Knowlton is a sociocultural anthropologist who specializes in the anthropology of Latin America (with a focus on the Andes), the anthropology of Mormonism, and social theory. His current interests include the social organization of the transnational space of religion, the socioeconomic correlates of religious membership in Latin America, the phenomenology of Mormon life, and the relationship between neo-liberalism and social movements in Bolivia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin.
Michael Minch, Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Michael Minch
Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Michael Minch specializes in the connections between moral, political, and democratic theory. He also works on issues of theological ethics, environmental political theory, and ecotheology. He received his Bachelors degree from Grand Canyon University and, after graduate study at Drew University, he completed his Ph.D. from the University of Utah in political science. Michael currently serves as the director of UVU's Peace and Justice Studies Program and teaches courses in Christianity and Politics, Political Philosophy, and Introduction to Christian Theology.
David Scott, Assistant Professor, Communication
David Scott
Assistant Professor, Communication
David Scott is associate professor of Communication at Utah Valley University specializing in religion and media. Dave began examining the intersection of religion and popular culture when he wrote his BYU Master's thesis on Latter-day Saint movie-rental behavior in 1994.  Since completing a Ph.D. in Mass Communication at the University of Georgia in 1999, Dave has studied the role of religion in popular culture.  Among other things, he has examined how religious institutions use the media to propagate their messages, the impact that religion has on media consumers, and how religion is portrayed in popular discourse.  He currently serves on the editorial boards of The Journal of Media and Religion and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.
Jean Wahlquist, Assistant Professor, English
Jen Wahlquist
Assistant Professor, English
Jen Wahlquist began her higher education at Brigham Young University where she earned a Bachelors degree in English and a Masters degree in American Literature. She has served as chair of the Department of English and Literature and teaches classes in Women's Literature, Mormon Literature, and Shakespeare.
Ken White, Assistant Professor, Philosophy & Humanities
Ken White
Assistant Professor, Philosophy and Humanities
Ken White began his education at the University of Utah, earning a Bachelors degree in Russian. He went on to complete a Masters degree in Japanese and a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Humanities and his classes include: Introduction to Western Religions, Introduction to Eastern Religions, and East Asian Buddhist Philosophy.