William Samuel Chavez

Religions in North America, Religion and Popular Culture, Religion and Folklore.
HSSB 3043
Office Hours:
(only by appointment)
Time Period: Winter 2021


William Chavez is a PhD candidate interested in ritual and spatial practice. While his master’s thesis is a cross-cultural survey, his dissertation will focus on the contemporary practice of exorcism in the United States.

Academic History

MA, Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2018.
Master’s Thesis: “The Game of Exorcism: A Spatial Analysis of Religious Practice”

BA, Religion, University of Rochester, 2013.
Honors Thesis: “KOSMIC KOMBAT! The Myths and Practices of Vigilante Exorcism in Contemporary American Culture”

BS, Mathematics, University of Rochester, 2013.

Open-Access Review Essays

Book Review: The Philosophy of Death Reader: Cross-Cultural Readings on Immortality and the Afterlife, Edited by Markar Melkonian (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019). Reading Religionhttps://readingreligion.org/books/philosophy-death-reader (June 30, 2020).

Book Review: Consecration Rituals in South Asia, Edited by István Keul (Boston: Brill, 2017). Reading Religion, https://readingreligion.org/books/consecration-rituals-south-asia (March 4, 2020).

Book Review: Sociology of Exorcism in Late Modernity, by Giuseppe Giordan and Adam Possamai (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018). Reading Religion, http://readingreligion.org/books/sociology-exorcism-late-modernity (September 19, 2018).

Interview Response: “Teaching Religion: A Response to Douglas Brooks.” The Religious Studies Project, https://www.religiousstudiesproject.com/2017/05/05/teaching-religion-a-response-to-douglas-brooks/ (May 5, 2017).


RS 12: Religious Approaches to Death (Teaching Assistant)
RS 13: Religion and Popular Culture (Teaching Assistant)
RS 62: Dark Goddesses / Black Madonnas (Teaching Assistant)

ASAM 71: Intro. to Asian American Religions (Teaching Assistant)
MES 45: Intro. to Middle East Studies (Teaching Assistant)
RS 21: Zen Buddhism (Teaching Assistant)
RS 80B: Religion & Western Civilization II: Medieval (Teaching Assistant)
RS 1: Intro. to the Study of Religion (Teaching Assistant)
RS 20 / RS 162E: Indian Civilizations (Teaching Assistant)

RS 12: Religious Approaches to Death (Teaching Associate)
RS 113: Religion and Film (Teaching Associate)
RS 6: Islam and Modernity (Teaching Associate)

RS 193B: Religion and Healing in a Comparative Perspective (Reader)
RS 113: Religion and Film (Reader)
RS 155: Religion and the Impact of Vietnam (Reader)
RS 116A: The New Testament and Early Christianity (Reader)