Hello and welcome to www.johnlcrow.com, the website that presents my teaching, research and blog about a variety of subjects related to religious studies. I am a PhD graduate student in the department of religious studies at Florida State University. My training is in both American religious history and in western esotericism. My interests, however, are wide ranging, dealing with notions of the body within a religious context, the intersection of science and religion, and the development of eastern religions within the western world, particularly Buddhism in the West.
Prior to coming to Florida State, I earned my master’s degree in religious studies, with a focus on western esotericism at the University of Amsterdam. My undergraduate degree was earned in English at Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia. I became ABD in May 2012 and expect to complete my dissertation by the summer of 2014.
I teach world religion survey courses at both Florida State and Tallahassee Community College. In addition to teaching and course work, I also assist or have assisted at a number of journals including Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture, East-West Connections, and the Japan Studies Association Journal. When I am not working with print journals, I occasionally contribute to the Religion in American History blog, one of, if not the best, blogs examining the current state of religion within American culture.
To date the majority of my publications have focused on Allan Bennett, or Bhikkhu Ananda Metteyya, the first Englishman to convert to Theravada Buddhism and attempt to bring Buddhism as a practice to England through a mission in 1908. I have also published or have essays pending on several other topics. These include the way notions of astral travel have been imported into Internet culture, the Christian regulation of magical amulets, and historical essays on various subjects such as the Ouija board, Spiritualism, the Illuminati Conspiracy of the 1790s, and the interaction between the New Age and American politics. For a list of my publications, please see my CV.
My primary research areas embrace modern Spiritualism, Theosophy and the Theosophical Society, Freemasonry, Buddhism in the West, and theories and methods for studying the body. My dissertation work will be focusing on how the human body was understood by the Theosophical Society from 1875 through 1930. The society differed from most traditions in its approach to the human body. It saw the body as a matrix of seven different principles or parts, and embedded within larger continuities of both a personal reincarnation cycle, as well as part of humanity’s evolution, leading from lesser to more spiritual beings. By examining the way Theosophy approached the body we can understand how science, religion and occultism interacted and how these early occult understandings of the body have continued forward to today, informing numerous religious traditions, old and new.
Please feel free to contact me about any of my research interests, including Theosophy, Spiritualism, freemasonry, Buddhism in the West, and topics related to Western Esotericism in the history of the United States.