Faculty Voices

With advanced degrees in subjects ranging from history to religious studies and from comparative literature to cultural studies, our faculty have diverse academic backgrounds ideally suited to the multidisciplinary disciplines of Humanities and Religious Studies. We are enthusiastic teachers who are eager to share with our students the pleasures of learning and the satisfaction that comes from knowing and understanding. We are also dedicated researchers who publish our work and present it at professional conferences.

Dr. Jeffrey Brodd 

photo of Jeffrey Brodd

Dr. Jeffrey Brodd teaches classes in classical Greece and Rome; classical and world mythology; world religions; religious studies methodology.

Dr. Alyson Buckman

Alyson Buckmann

Dr. Alyson Buckman teaches courses in film and American Studies. Currently, she is co-editing a book on Orphan Black and writing a book on Joss Whedon's uses of the past. Dr. Buckman won the coveted Mr. Pointy award for her essay on Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and is the co-editor of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse: Confounding Purpose, Confusing Identity with Sherry Ginn and Heather Porter.  She also has published essays on Alice Walker, Octavia Butler, The Gilmore Girls, Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. She is the secretary for the Whedon Studies Association and currently serves on the editorial board for Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association as well. 

 Please beep her when the Apocalypse comes.

Dr. Jackie Donath

Jackie Donath

Dr. Jackie Donath joined the faculty of the Department of Humanities and Religious Studies in the fall of 1991. She teaches courses in American Studies, including classes on multiculturalism and American arts and ideas. She also has taught courses on popular and material culture, the hero, and images of women in film and culture. She wants her students to learn how to think creatively and critically, to reason and ask questions.

Dr. Donath’s research interests include museums, American seating and skateboarding. She is also an active member of the campus community, and in addition to her service on a number of department, college and University committees, has chaired the WASC reaccreditation Steering Committee, the General Education and Graduation Requirements Committee and the Department of Humanities and Religious Studies. She was a founding faculty member of the CSUS Film Program and the GE Honors Program. She served seven years on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) senior commission and has visited many campuses as the member of WASC accreditation teams.

Mary Doyno

Mary Doyno

Mary Doyno earned a BA in History and the History of Art from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is currently completing a study that looks at the development of lay and civic religion within the cults of contemporary lay saints in the late medieval Italian communes. Her great passion is introducing students to the many wonders of the pre-modern world and setting them up for a lifetime of learning about medieval and early modern culture.

Dr. Joel Dubois

Joel Dubois

  Dr. Joel Dubois teaches courses in world religions, Hindu & Buddhist traditions, pre-modern Christian spirituality, native American ceremony & worldview

Professor Maria Jaoudi

Maria Jaoudi

Professor Maria Jaoudi teaches courses on World Religions, Religion and Ecology, World Religions and Cultures in Cinema, Great Mystics of the World, Consciousness and Mind Studies. Dr. Jaoudi is the author of Christian and Islamic Spirituality, Christian Mysticism: East & West, and Medieval and Renaissance Spirituality, Paulist Press. Professor Jaoudi created the International Cinema and Spirituality series for the City of Davis, and enjoys volunteer teaching on topics for lifelong learning. She is a poet and painter exhibiting in the United States and France. https://www.csus.edu/indiv/j/jaoudim.

Bradley Nystrom

Bradley Nystrom

Brad Nystrom received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis. His special interests are the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome; the history of Christianity; and the world’s major religions. When he first came to CSUS, he was fascinated by Greek and Roman inscriptions that tell us something about ancient Christianity and Judaism. Later, he decided to pursue an earlier interest in Greek poetry and published one book on Greek erotic poetry and another on the epigrams of Lucillius, a Greek poet whose patron was the Roman Emperor Nero.More recently, Professor Nystrom has co-authored a history of Christianity with his little brother, David Nystrom, and Invitation to World Religions (Oxford, 2012), with colleagues from the CSUS Department of Humanities and Religious Studies, UC Berkeley, and the University of Nevada at Reno. 

Dr. Richard Shek


Dr. Richard Shek teaches courses in East Asian civilizations; world religons and Asian literature.

"There are sages in the East, there are sages in the West.  Their hearts and minds are identical, and the principle they pursue is the same"--from a Confucian scholar of the 13th century.

Harvey Stark

Harvey Stark

Harvey Stark teaches courses in Islam, Islam in America, world religions, global humanities, and the theory of religion. In all his courses, he hopes students will gain an appreciation for two aspects of religion: 1) the deep relationship between story telling and religion & 2) the fact that variety in religion is the rule and not the exception. His current research interests concern the ongoing relationship between Muslim religious leadership and communal identity in the United States. Most recently his research has focused on American Muslim chaplains and the ways that chaplains as American Muslim religious leaders are engaging with both Islamic tradition and Muslim history to address the needs of their communities on issues of citizenship, ritual practice, and theology. Prior to coming to Sacramento State he taught at Princeton University, Depauw University, and Wabash College. One of his richest teaching experiences was as a volunteer instructor of world religions at the Indiana Women's Prison in Indianapolis.

Victoria Shinbrot


Victoria Shinbrot holds a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Davis. She shares her passion equally among Romantic, Victorian and Modernist writers, artists and all manner of intellectuals and aesthetes from the U.S, Russia, Great Britain and Europe. She teaches many of the core Humanities classes in both the undergraduate and graduate programs and approaches the wide range of subjects she teaches with an interdisciplinary point of view. Her research is currently focused on the aesthetics of risk in nineteenth-century literature. She has an affinity for the sublime and a weakness for chocolate.

Faculty Not Pictured Here

Vanessa Arnaud
renaissance literature, art & music, French history & literature

George Craft
history of American film

Layne Little
Indian religions, especially Hindu & Buddhist traditions

Judith Poxon
world religions, world mythology, multicultural American history

Toby Terrell
classical mythology

Wendy Terry
New Testament studies, history of Christianity

Judy Thoma
classical & world mythology, "Arts & Ideas of the West," freshman seminar