CATHERINE WESSINGER

Professor of the History of Religions and Womenís Studies
 

ADDRESS

Religious Studies   504-865-3182 office
Loyola University   504-865-3179 fax
6363 St. Charles Avenue  504-394-2207 home
New Orleans, LA 70118
   wessing@loyno.edu
 

FIELD

History of Religions:  New Religious Movements, Millennialism
   Women and Religion
 Religions of India, World Religions
         History of Christianity
 
 

EDUCATION

Ph.D.     1985 University of Iowa (School of Religion)
                       Dissertation:  "Millenarianism in the Thought of Annie Besant"

B.F.A.     1974      University of South Carolina
 
 

EMPLOYMENT AND TEACHING

present -     Loyola University   Undergraduate courses
Fall 1986 New Orleans, LA  Introduction to World Religions
               Women in World Religions
  World Religions - Honors
Professor 1998  Women in the Christian Tradition
Dept. Chair 1998- Hindu Paths to God
Associate Professor 1992-98 Womenís Studies Seminar
sabbatical 1997-98 Readings Seminar for R.S. Majors (1 hr.)
tenure 1995
Assistant Professor 1986-92 Graduate courses
ordinary (tenure track) 1990-92    Religions of Asia
extraordinary (adjunct)1987-90 Women in Religions & Cultures
part-time 1986-87 Millennium Seminar
 
 

  Courses
Summer 1988      Adjunct Assist. Prof.   Society, Women and Religion
Spring 1987        University College
Spring 1986       Tulane University    New Orleans, LA

1978-80            Teaching Assistant        Living Religions of the East
                           School of Religion         Judaism and Christianity
 University of Iowa Religion and Society Iowa City, IA
 
 

PUBLICATIONS - BOOKS

Annie Besant and Progressive Messianism . 1988. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press.

Editor,  Womenís Leadership in Marginal Religions: Explorations Outside the Mainstream. 1993.  Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Editor, Religious Institutions and Womenís Leadership: New Roles Inside the Mainstream. 1996. Studies in Comparative Religion Series. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.

Editor, Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Cases. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, forthcoming.

How the Millennium Comes Violently. Chappaqua, NY: Seven Bridges Press, forthcoming.
 
 

PUBLICATIONS - CHAPTERS IN BOOKS

"Democracy vs. Hierarchy: The Evolution of Authority in the Theosophical Society,"  in Timothy Miller, ed., When Prophets Die: The Post-Charismatic Fate of New Religious Movements  (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991), 93-106, notes on 218-222.

"Going Beyond and Retaining Charisma:  Womenís Leadership in Marginal Religions," Introduction to Womenís Leadership in Marginal Religions: Explorations Outside the Mainstream, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 1-19.

"Woman Guru, Woman Roshi: The Legitimation of Female Religious Leadership in Hindu and Buddhist Groups in America," in Womenís Leadership in Marginal Religions: Explorations Outside the Mainstream, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 125-46.

"The Feminism of 'Universal Brotherhood': Women in the Theosophical Movement," coauthored with Robert Ellwood,  in Womenís Leadership in Marginal Religions: Explorations Outside the Mainstream, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 68-87.

"Varieties of Millennialism and the Issue of Authority," in From the Ashes:  Making Sense of Waco, edited by James R. Lewis.  (Lanham, Maryland:  Rowman & Littlefield, 1994):  55-62.

"Eastern Religions" in The Best in Philosophy and Religion, edited by Robert S. Ellwood, vol. 4  The Readersí Advisor, 14th ed. (New Providence, NJ:  R. R. Bauker, 1994), 495-563.  The Eastern Religions  section includes introductory essays, biographical profiles of significant writers, and annotated bibliographies for the South Asian Traditions, Southeast Asian Traditions, East Asian Traditions,  Central Asian Traditions, and Non-Islamic and Non-Jewish Traditions of the Middle East and Northern Africa.

"Womenís Religious Leadership in America," in The 1993 Parliament of the Worldís Religions: Selected Speeches, edited by Daniel Ross Chandler (Fort Worth, TX: CyberSpace Publishing, 1994).

"Hinduism Arrives in America:  The Vedanta Societies and the Self-Realization Fellowship" in Americaís Alternative Religions, ed. Timothy Miller.  (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1995): 173-90.

"Womenís Religious Leadership in the United States," introduction to Religious Institutions and Womenís Leadership: New Roles Inside the Mainstream, ed. Catherine Wessinger (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996), 3-36.

"Key Events for Womenís Religious Leadership in the United States - Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries," chronology in  Religious Institutions and Womenís Leadership: New Roles Inside the Mainstream, ed. Catherine Wessinger (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996), 347-401.

"Millennialism With and Without the Mayhem" in Millennium, Messiahs, and Mayhem,  ed. by Thomas Robbins and Susan J. Palmer (New York: Routledge, 1997), 47-59.

"Foreword" to Hearing the Voices of Jonestown: Putting a Human Face on an American Tragedy, by Mary McCormick Maaga (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1998), ix-xii.

"The Interacting Dynamics of Millennial Beliefs, Persecution, and Violence" in Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Episodes (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, forthcoming).
 
 

PUBLICATIONS - JOURNAL ARTICLES

"Annie Besant and the World-Teacher: Progressive Messianism for the New Age," The Quest  2 (Spring 1989): 60-69.

"Service to India as Service to the World:  Annie Besant's Work in India for Human Rights,"  Part I in Theosophical History  3 (January 1990): 19-32; Part II in 3 (April 1990): 51-60.

"Woman Guru, Woman Roshi: The Legitimation of Female Religious Leadership in Hindu and Buddhist Groups in America,"  Gender in World Religions  2 (1991): 37-68; and reprinted in Womenís Leadership in Marginal Religions: Explorations Outside the Mainstream, 125-46, referenced above.

"Annie Besantís Millennial Movement: Its History, Impact, and Implications Concerning Authority,"  with an "Epilogue on David Koresh and the Branch Davidians."   Syzygy:  Journal of Alternative Religion and Culture  2/1-2 (Winter/Spring 1993): 55-70.

"Annie Besant and Issues in Contemporary Feminist Spirituality: Part One," The Quest , Special Issue 10/1 (March 1997): 26-33, 51; "Part Two," The Quest, Special Issue 10/2 (June 1997): 42-49.

"How the Millennium Comes Violently,"  Dialog: A Journal of Theology  36/4 (Fall 1997): 277-88.

"Religious Studies Scholars, FBI Agents, and the Montana Freemen," Nova Religion: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, forthcoming.
 
 

PUBLICATIONS - ENCYCLOPEDIA ARTICLES

"Annie Besant," in The 1890s: An Encyclopedia of British Literature, Art, and Culture   G. A. Cevasco, ed., (New York: Garland 1993).

"Annie Besant" (1150 words), "Paramahamsa Yogananda" (603 words), "Maitreya" (713 words), "Colonel Henry Steel Olcott" (554 words) forthcoming in The Encyclopedia of Hinduism, K. L. Seshagiri Rao, editor in chief.

"Annie Besant" (7,656 words), forthcoming in the Theosophical Encyclopedia.

"Charisma" (657 words),  "Leadership" (1,393 words),  "Ordination in Christianity"  (1,051 words), "Theosophy" (750 words) forthcoming in Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion, Serinity Young, editor in chief (Macmillan).
 
 

PUBLICATIONS - OP-ED ARTICLES

"Discerning Religious Prejudice,"  The Phoenix  15/1 (January 1995): 7, 17.

"Religious Intolerance--Not ëCultsí--Is the Problem," Communities: Journal of Cooperative Living  88 (Fall 1995): 32-33.

"An Outsiderís View" in Re-Membering and Re-Imagining, edited by Nancy J. Berneking and Pamela Carter Joern (Pilgrim Press, 1995), 211-13, on the 1993 Re-Imagining Conference.

"FBI adviser on successful end of Freemen standoff," New Orleans Times-Picayune, July 16, 1996: B-5.

"An avoidable tragedy: the Branch Davidians," The Loyola Maroon  (Loyola University) 75/17 (February 28, 1997): 9.

"When ëcultí is pejorative," letter to the editor, New Orleans Times-Picayune, April 22, 1997, B-4.
 
 

PUBLICATIONS - REVIEW ESSAY

"Understanding the Branch Davidian Tragedy," Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions  1/1 (October 1997): 122-38. This article reviews:

The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation.  By Dick J. Reavis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995.

Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America.  By James D. Tabor and Eugene V. Gallagher. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict.  Ed. by Stuart A. Wright. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995.

From the Ashes: Making Sense of Waco.  By James R. Lewis. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1994.

The Davidian Massacre: Disturbing Questions About Waco Which Must Be Answered.  By Carol Moore. Franklin, TN: Legacy Communications and Springfield, VA: Gun Owners Foundation, 1995.

Investigation into the Activities of Federal Law Enforcement Agencies toward the Branch Davidians: Thirteenth Report by the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight Prepared in Conjunction with the Committee on the Judiciary together with Additional and Dissenting Views. By the House of Representatives. Report 104-749, Union Calendar No. 395. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996.
 
 

WORK IN PROGRESS - as of May 1999

 Final revision of How the Millennium Comes Violently. Expected publication: Fall 1999.
 
 Final editing  of Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence: Historical Cases. Expected publication: Fall 1999.

Preparing to make a presentation at the FBI Academy on June 7, 1999, on millennialism and violence.

Writing articles for the Millennial Encyclopedia (Berkshire Reference Works) on "castastropic millennialism," "progressive millennialism," "assaulted millennial groups," "fragile millennial groups," "revolutionary millennial groups," "nativist millennial groups," and "persecution."

Preparing to respond to a panel on millennialism at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion meeting in Boston in November 1999.

Preparing to present a paper at the American Academy of Religion meeting in Boston in November 1999, "The Interacting Dynamics of Millennial Beliefs, Persecution, and Violence." This paper will be on one of the two panels that were accepted by the AAR based upon the chapters of Millennialism, Persecution, and Violence.

Preparing to present a paper, "Millennial Moments on a Continuum of Violence," at the International Association for the History of Religions meeting in Durban, South Africa, August 2000.

Writing textbook entitled Women in Religions and Cultures  for Prentice Hall.  The Introduction, and chapters on Women in Prehistory and the Origin of Patriarchy, Women in Chiricahua and Mescalero Apache Religions and Cultures, Women in Yoruba Religions and Cultures, Women in Shinto Religions and Cultures have been drafted.