People

Kenny Paul Smith

Kenny Paul Smith

Senior Instructor of Religious Studies

Ph.D.: Emory University, Graduate Division of Religion, American Religious Cultures

Phone: 225-578-3939
Email: kennysmith@lsu.edu
Office: 121 Coates
Website: https://emory.academia.edu/KennySmith

Biography

Prior to coming to LSU, Kenny earned B.A.s in English and Philosophy and M.A.s in Philosophy and Religious Studies at Georgia State University (Atlanta), where he also served as a Visiting Instructor of Religious Studies and Philosophy for several years. He completed his doctoral dissertation, “The Contemporary American Magical Landscape,” at Emory University (also in Atlanta), while serving as an Instructor of Religious Studies at LSU. He worked as an associate editor at the Bulletin for the Study of Religion (Equinox Press), and has contributed essays to popular sites such as Religion Dispatches. Dr. Smith has been an Ogden Honors College Fellow since 2021. He is also the dual-enrollment coordinator. 

Areas of Interest

Religions of the World; Magic and Religion; Native American and Indigenous Religions; Philosophy of Religion; Religion and American Popular Culture; New Religious Movements.

Courses Offered

  • Religions of the World
  • American Religions
  • Indigenous Religions
  • Harry Potter and Magic
  • Religion and Sports
  • New Religious Movements
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Judaism, Christianity and Islam
  • Asian Religions
  • Introduction to the Study of Religion (i.e., Comparative Theory)

Awards and Honors

  • Doctoral Fellowship (2010-2015), Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University
  • Timothy Renick Award (2010), Department of Religious Studies, Georgia State University
  • Graduate Studies Scholarship (2008-2010), Department of Religious Studies, Georgia State University
  • Nominated for Outstanding Honors Faculty Award, Department of Religious Studies (2005), Georgia State University
  • Graduate Studies Scholarship (1996-1999), Department of Philosophy, Georgia State University

Selected Publications

  • “You’ve Been Wonderful Neighbors: Key Factors in the Successful Integration of a Wiccan Coven into a Suburban Community in the Southeastern United States,” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions, Vol. 12, No. 1, August 2008, pp. 103-115
  • BOOK REVIEW: James R. Lewis, Violence in New Religious Movements, Practical Matters, May 2012
  • BOOK REVIEW: Randall Styers, Making Magic: Religion, Magic, and Science in the Modern World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Volume 41, Number 2, April 2012, pp. 36-78
  • BOOK REVIEW: Allison P. Coudert, Religion, Magic, and Science in Early Modern Europe and America (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2011), Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Volume 41, Number 2, April 2012, pp. 37-8
  • BOOK REVIEW: Courtney Bender, The New Metaphysicals: Spirituality and the American Religious Imagination (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Volume 41, Number 2, April 2012, pp. 39-40