Professor Information and Bio

Dr. Kathryn Chew


Kathryn Chew

With a PhD in Classics from UCLA, Dr. Kathryn Chew has research interests in the ancient Greek and Latin novels, early Christian female martyr accounts, and fifth century eastern Roman imperial history. She has published on the development of the ancient novel and early Christian female martyr accounts, on the intersection of religion and politics in the life of Pulcheria, a fifth century imperial woman, and on other interesting topics, like how to recognize gods in mortal guise in Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit literature. Dr. Chew joined the faculty at CSULB in 2003 after teaching at such institutions as the University of Virginia, Northwestern, Vassar, and Princeton. Her joint appointment in both Classics and Religious Studies gives her the best of both worlds: teaching the languages that are the foundation of Classical studies and participating in the lively intellectual environment of Religious Studies.

  • Phone: (562) 985-5810
  • Location: MHB-606 room – online, in cyberspace office
  • Zoom ID: 87893070304, Passcode: 794286 Thursday office hours: 87070198419
  • Email: kathryn.chew@csulb.edu,
  • Fall 2022 Office Hours: 

Dr. Gabriel Estrada

Graduate Advisor


gabrielestradaDr. Gabriel S. Estrada specializes in Indigenous, Queer and Media Studies in Religion. Ze holds a PhD in Comparative Cultural and Literary Studies from the University of Arizona,Tucson. Ze joined the CSULB faculty in 2005. A Steering Committee member in the Indigenous Religious Traditions Group of American Academy of Religion, Dr. Estrada has published “Navajo Sci-Fi Film: Matriarchal Visual Sovereignty in Nanobah Becker’s The 6th World” in Journal of the American Academy of Religion, “Cloud Atlas’ Queer Tiki Kitsch: Polynesia, Settler Colonialism, and Sci-Fi Film” in Journal of Religion and Film, and is currently working on a book manuscript Queer Indigenous Film. As a queer HIV+ scholar/activist and a Caxcan Nahua, Raramuri, Chiricahua Apache, and Chicana/o descendent, Dr. Estrada chairs the CSULB Committee on LGBTQ Campus climate and is a co-founder of the City of Angeles Two-Spirit Society (CATSS). 

  • Phone: (562) 985-2598
  • Location: MHB-601
  • Email: gabriel.estrada@csulb.edu  (response within 48 hours
  • Meeting ID: 843 2247 3941 & Passcode: 37403
  • Fall 2022 Office Hours: Zoom Wednesday 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm; email within 48 hours; and by appointment
  • Zoom Meeting ID: 864 9701 2939 & Passcode: 325428 




Dr. Peter Lowentrout


peteProfessor Lowentrout was an undergraduate at the University of California, Riverside and received his Ph.D. in Religion/Social Ethics from the University of Southern California. Professor Lowentrout joined the Religious Studies department in 1984; he specializes in Religion and Modern Culture. He has been President of the American Academy of Religion/Western Region and President of the Science Fiction Research Association. He has written numerous articles, including “The Evocation of Good in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings” and “The War of the Worlds Panic Revisited: Science Fiction and the Angst of Secularization.” He is currently working on a book to be published by the University of California Press titled The Rags of Lordship: Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Re-enchantment of the World.



Dr. Sophia Pandya, Department Chair


ist_24_kpandya book

Sophia Pandya is currently a full professor and department chair at California State University at Long Beach, in the Department of Religious Studies. She received her BA from UC Berkeley in Near Eastern Studies/Arabic, and her MA and PhD from UC Santa Barbara in Religious Studies. A Fulbright scholar, she specializes in women and Islam, and more broadly in contemporary movements within Islam. Dr. Pandya has authored a book (2012), Muslim Women and Islamic Resurgence: Religion, Education, and Identity Politics in Bahrain, on Bahraini women and the ways in which globalization and modern education impacted their religious activities. Having carried out research in Turkey on several occasions, she is also the co-editor of a second published volume (2012), The Gülen Hizmet Movement and its Transnational Activities: Case Studies on Charitable Activism. She is now finishing a manuscript on the Hizmet movement, alterity, and the challenges of altruism. Her interests have also included religious change in Yemen among both the younger and older generations of women, and the ways in which they negotiate conflicting religious discourses. One of her publications, “Religious Change among Yemeni Women: The New Popularity of ‘Amr Khaled,” looks at younger, educated Yemeni women and their preference of an Egyptian televangelist over their mothers’ religious practices. Another, titled “Religious Flexibilities of Older Yemeni Women in Sana’a,” examines older women and their navigation of religious change. Dr. Pandya is frequently invited to speak at the local, national, and international level.

  • Phone: (562) 985-7982
  • Location: MHB-617
  • Email: sophia.pandya@csulb.edu
  • Fall 2022 Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 12:30pm to 3:00 pm and Wednesday 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, available online by appointment.
  • I also hold office hours by email; I endeavor to answer within 72 hours.


Dr. Carlos R. Piar


IMG_3881american rel divProfessor Piar obtained his Ph.D. in Religion/Social Ethics from the University of Southern California. He also holds a M.Div. and a Th.M. from Talbot Theological Seminary. He was appointed to the Department of Religious Studies in 1990. Prof. Piar has published a book titled Jesus and Liberation: A Critical Analysis of the Christology of Latin American Liberation Theology (1994). With Jon R. Stone, he has recently edited a primary-source reader, Readings in American Religious Diversity (2007). He has also written several articles on virtue ethics. He specializes in Latin American Religions, Modern Christian Thought, and Religious Ethics. 

  • Phone: (562) 985-8727
  • Location: MHB-612
  • Email: carlos.piar@csulb.edu
  • Fall 2022 Office Hours: Thursday, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm
  • Office Hours: Wednesday 1:00 pm -2:00 pm 
  • On-line Office Hours Link: https://csulb.zoom.us/j/87370408278
  • ZOOM Link to Class Lectures: https://csulb.zoom.us/j/87098410111

If link is not available to you, you can join the meeting on Zoom by inputting this code:  Meeting ID: 87098410111

On-line Office Hours Link: https://csulb.zoom.us/j/87370408278


Dr. David Tabb Stewart


dts Professor Stewart received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley – a degree focusing on Hebrew Bible and Hittitology in their  Department of Near Eastern Studies, an M.A. in Middle East Studies-Hebrew from the University of Utah, and a B.S. in Finance from the University of Oregon. He joined the CSULB faculty in 2007. His special interests include biblical and ancient Near Eastern religion and law, the literary art of the Hebrew Bible, intertextuality, and ancient notions of disability, otherness, sex and gender. Dr. Stewart has taught at Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Davis, San Francisco State University, and Southwestern University (Texas). Before his life as a professor, Stewart was involved in the management and financial guidance of a number of NGOs including ones that focused on homeless youth and college students.

Fall 2022 Asynchronous Office Hours:

(1) MW 11:00 am -11:30 am and 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm in MHB 602

(2)  By appointment:  Office phone: (562) 985-1697; individual Zoom appointment can be arranged by email

(3) Regular Zoom Office Hours:  TuTh 10:45 am – 11:15 am and 3:15 pm – 3:45 pm – get link by  email or right after class for RST 314 and RST 322

Fall 2022 Non-Synchronous Office Hours:

(1) by email; or,

(2) by posting a question on the “Question Forum” at BeachBoard/Discussions for the class

E-mail: david.stewart@csulb.edu

Class website with e-syllabus, assignments, announcements, and readings: https://beachboard.csulb.edu/



Dr. Jon R. Stone


JRStone Online Course Photo 2015 copyAmRDProfessor Stone (Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara) specializes in Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion, and also teaches courses in American Religious History and the Sociology of Religion. He has taught at CSULB since 2004. He is the author or editor of twelve books, including On the Boundaries of American Evangelicalism, The Craft of Religious Studies, Expecting Armageddon, The Essential Max Müller, and contributor to The Oxford Handbook of Millennialism. His lexicon, Latin for the Illiterati (2nd edn, 2009), was named “1997 Outstanding Reference Source” by the American Library Association. With Carlos R. Piar, Professor Stone has recently revised Readings in American Religious Diversity (2007/2012), a primary-source reader now published in four separate volumes. He has previously taught at U.C. Santa Barbara, U.C. Berkeley, CSU Bakersfield, and the University of Northern Iowa.

  • Phone: (562) 985-2146
  • Location: MHB-620
  • Email: jon.stone@csulb.edu
  • Fall 2022 Office Hours: Wednesdays 2:15 pm -4:15 pm (and by appointment)