man in front of tall grasses, smiling with beard
Office: 732 Wells Hall


Ph.D., American Studies, Michigan State University 2013

Dissertation: “One Never Loves Enough:” Psychedelics and Spirituality in Post-War America

M.A., Social Sciences; Foci: Philosophy of Religion & Cultural Studies, University of Chicago 2005

Thesis: Saving Democracy: Religious Dissidence and Civil Disobedience in America from the 1840s to the 1960s

B.A., Political Science, Summa Cum Laude, Honors Program, DePaul University 2004

Thesis: A Problem of Liberty: Promises of Freedom/Discourses of Piety in Revolutionary America


Religion & American Culture, New Religious Movements, Mysticism & Esotericism, Religious Diversity & Pluralism, Popular Culture & Religion, Religious Subcultures, Religion & Protest, Religion & Politics, Radicalism, Theories & Methods, Intro to Religion 


Morgan Shipley is Visiting Assistant Professor and Academic Advisor in the Department of Religious Studies. His research focuses on new religious movements, western esotericism, and alternative spirituality in America, specifically through analyses of popular culture, social movements, political practices, and identity structures. Shipley is co-editor of The Silence of Fallout: Nuclear Criticism in a Post-Cold War World (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013), and author of Psychedelic Mysticism: Transforming Consciousness, Religious Experiences, and Voluntary Peasants in Postwar America (Lexington Books, 2015). He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals, edited anthologies, and encyclopedias on various topics, from doomsday cults to debates in comparative mysticism to the mad and sacred art of the Beat Generation and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Shipley is currently working on a book manuscript, Passage to a Sacred Now: How Entheogenic Religions Sparked an Esoteric Revival in an Apocalyptic America, which explores the sacramental use of psychedelic substances within traditional religious settings in postwar America, and just finalized an article that explores Muslim American popular culture and the limitations of pluralism in contemporary America.

In the classroom, I challenge my students to understand that the study of religion is not apologetic, dogmatic, or confessional, but rather functions as a rigorous, critical, analytical, and reflective examination of understandings of the “religious” and its relations with other areas of life. I push students to think, re-examine, and re-think in the hope that, beyond a stronger comprehension of religious values, beliefs, practitioners, and communities, they also leave my classes with inquisitive minds, a willingness to interrogate, and an openness to listen.


  • IAH 207 The Outsider, a Culture of Madness, and American Literature
  • IAH 211C Dissent, Religion, & American Protest Literature—From Thomas Paine to the 1960s
  • IAH 231A Religious Experiences, The Human Event, and Culture
  • REL 101 Exploring Religion
  • REL 205 Myth, Self, and Religion
  • REL 301 Methods and Theories in Religion
  • REL 310 Judaism
  • REL 375 Religion and US Literature
  • REL 380 New Religions
  • REL 412 Jewish Mysticism
  • REL 480 Comparative Studies in Religion