Faculty Profile

Mara Donaldson

Professor of Religion (1990)

Contact Information


East College Room 207


Her teaching focuses on contemporary religious thought, especially feminist and liberation theologies, and religion and art, including contemporary fantasy literature, film, and popular culture.


  • B.A., Wilson College, 1971
  • M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1974
  • Ph.D., Emory University, 1984


  • Dickinson Award for Distinguished Teaching, 1998-1999. Ganoe Award for Inspirational Teaching, 2000-2001

2017-2018 Academic Year

Fall 2017

RELG 211 Religion and Fantasy
An exploration of the religious and mythological dimensions of traditional and modern fantasy literature. Our explorations will be guided by three interdependent themes: the nature of the divine, the nature of the human, and the nature of the moral life.

RELG 248 Religion and Non-Violence
Although religion in our world today is often associated with violence, this course examines the lives and work of important religious figures who advocated non-violence for social change. What are the ethical debates about non-violence as a response to injustice? We will read works by Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bishop Tutu, Dorothy Day, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and others. Offered every two years.

RELG 550 Independent Research

Spring 2018

RELG 110 Religion and Modern Culture
Drawing upon popular examples from film, drama, and narrative, as well as critical essays, the course explores both the religious dimensions of modern culture myth, sacred space and time, nature spirituality and the cultural contexts of contemporary theologies gender, race, economics.

RELG 250 Mother Earth
This course explores the following: the ways religious traditions both contribute to the environmental crisis and provide resources for addressing that crisis; the emergence of sustainability as a defining value in colleges and universities; the roles that Bill McKibben as a writer and climate change activist continues to play in promoting conversations and policy decisions related to values grounded in religious, spiritual, and scientific values.

RELG 550 Independent Research