Philosophy and World Religions

Faculty: Susan Hill

Professor of Religion

Susan Hill"I became passionate about studying religion when I was in college: I kept taking religion courses because they were always the most interesting courses I could find! Now that I teach religion, I hope to continue that trend for UNI students, so I teach courses on the ways that religious ideas are expressed in the world around us, and in important areas in our lives: what we eat, how we think about our bodies and sexuality, and the ways that we tell stories. My classroom is a place for discussion, teamwork, active learning, and exploration. Come join me!"


Bartlett 2097

(319) 273-7177


Ph.D., Religion and Literature, University of Chicago Divinity School

MA, Religion, University of Chicago

BA, Religious Studies, Macalester College, cum laude

Research and Teaching Interests:

Her research interests focus primarily on the intersections between religious belief and cultural expression, particularly around questions of personal and bodily identity, gender, and sexuality. She has published articles on the authors George Eliot and Willa Cather, translation theory, pedagogy, and the history of gluttony and the fat body in western culture. She is the author of Eating to Excess: The Meaning of Gluttony and the Fat Body in the Ancient World (Praeger, 2011).

Regularly Taught Classes:

Religions of the World, Women and Christianity, Myth and Symbol

In Process: 

My current project focuses on the meaning and purpose of myths about food and eating in the world religions.

Selected Publications:


Eating to Excess: The Meaning of Gluttony and the Fat Body in the Ancient World, Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers, September 2011.


"Diana's Grove: an Emergent, Integrative Spiritual Movement," co-authored with John K. Simmons and Cynthea Jones, in Women and New and Africana Religions, edited by Lillian E. Ashcraft-Eason, Darnise, C. Martin and Oyeronke Olademo, eds., New York: Praeger Publishers, 2009.

"Gluttony, Corpulence and the Good Life in Plato's Timaeus," Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol XLI: 1-2 (Spring/Summer 2008).

"'The Ooze of Gluttony': Attitudes Towards Food, Eating and Excess in the Middle Ages," in The Seven Deadly Sins: From Communities to Individuals, ed. Richard Newhauser, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions, Leiden/Boston: E.J. Brill, 2007.

"The Feminized Priest and the Female Outsider: Catholicism and Sexuality in Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop," in Catholic Figures, Queer Narratives, ed. Frederick Roden, Patricia Juliana Smith and Lowell Gallagher, Palgrave/Macmillan, 2007.

"Rethinking the Translator's Invisibility: George Eliot, Authority and the Politics of Translation, in Literature, Religion and East-West Comparison: Essays in Honor of Anthony C. Yu, ed. Eric Ziolkowski, Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2005.

Professional Awards:

2004, Participant in NEH Summer Seminar, "The Seven Deadly Sins as Cultural Constructions in the Middle Ages," Cambridge, England

2003, Award for Outstanding Leadership, Commitment and Service to the Women's Studies Program, Presented by the Women's Studies Advisory Board, UNI

2000, Coolidge Fellow, Association for Religion and Intellectual Life Research Colloquium, United Theological Seminary, NYC

1998, Outstanding Student Organization Advisor, LGBTA, (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Alliance)

1997, UNI College of Humanities and Fine Arts Outstanding Untenured Teacher Award