Pacific Lutheran University

Suzanne Crawford O'Brien's Homepage

Welcome!Hiking on Hurricane Ridge, Olympic Peninsula

Welcome to the homepage of Suzanne J. Crawford O'Brien, Associate Professor of Religion and Culture  at Pacific Lutheran University. On this site you can access information about my classes, research, and publications.

"Religion and Culture"!?  What's that!?

In a nutshell, the study of religion and culture concerns the ways that religion works to shape, and is shaped by culture, society, history, politics, the arts, and the environment. 

Religious and spiritual traditions impact culture, and are shaped in turn by history and culture in profound and various ways.  In my classes and my research I work to address several key arenas in which this process takes shape, particularly among minority religious communities of North America:

Native American Religions and Cultures
Gender and Ethnicity in American Religions
Religion and Immigration
Religions, Medicines, and Healing
Popular Culture


Take Time to Ponder the Big Questions

Bodhi Dog
The study of comparative religious traditions provides students with the opportunity to reflect upon the Big Questions, to consider their Ultimate Concerns (to quote Tillich!). What is my calling? Why am I here? What do I value? Upon what do I base my identity? What does it mean to be healthy? To be a whole self? When confronted with inequalities or injustices, how should I respond?