Rudy Busto

Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley
American Religion, Race and Religion, Religion and Science Fiction
HSSB 3082
Office Hours:
Thursday 1-3 & by appointment
Time Period: Spring 2021


My work begins with Omi and Winant’s position that concepts of race “structure state and civil society” and “shape both identities and institutions in significant ways” (Racial Formation in the United States, vii). Approaching religion in North America through the lens of race allows us to uncover hidden and subjugated histories and actors in American religion. This close attention to racial and ethnic interactions in North America also lets us examine how the study of religion has itself been structured and shaped by assumptions about race/ethnicity and helps explain the theoretical absence of race as a variable for critical analysis of religion. To study religion in this way requires, first, interdisciplinarity, followed by counterdisciplinarity — that is, refusing and working against established disciplinary regimes.  Counterdisciplinarity as a mode of reading, research, writing and teaching produces new insight and objects of study hidden by merely borrowing or adapting tools from established disciplines.  More specifically, my teaching, research and writing focus on Latinx religion; Asian and Pacific American religious traditions; constructions of indigeneity; the transformation of world religious traditions in the United States; religion in the American west and Pacific Rim; evangelical Christianity; and religion in science fiction as a genre for “making strange” issues of alterity and posing questions about the relationship between religion and science.  These latter questions have recently moved me into thinking about First Contact and how religious traditions may or may not be relevant to off-world human and post-human futures.


“King Tiger”: The Religious Vision of Reies López Tijerina. University of New Mexico Press, 2005.


  • with Jane Iwamura,“‘A Look at New Worlds’: The Japanese American Astronaut and Asian American Transcendence” (forthcoming)
  • “Dark S(k)in: Two Versions of Newton’s crimen oscuro,” Key Categories in the Study of Religion: Contexts and Critiques, Rebekka King, ed.  Equinox Publishing (forthcoming).
  • “The Gospel According to Rice: The Next Asian American Christianity,” Envisioning Religion, Race, and Asian Americans, Khyati Joshi and David Yoo eds., 146-169.  University of Hawaii Press, 2020.
  • “SWOTS the Matter: Looking Ahead by Looking Back,” Proceedings:  Sixth Biennial Conference on Religion and American Culture (2019), 62-64.
  • Review:   Ignacio M. Garcia, Chicano While Mormon: Activism, War, and Keeping the Faith,” Mormon Studies Review:  Vol. 4 : No. 1 (2017), 146-152.   Available at:
  • “Time Travel and Fictions of Science” The Religious Studies Project  (5 May 2016).  Available at:
  • “Religion/Science/Fiction: Beyond the Final Frontier,” Implicit Religion 17(4) (December 2014), 395-404.
  • “‘Chiariida o Sukue, Sekai o Sukue’: Nuclear Dread and the Pokémonization of American Religion in Season One of Heroes” Small Screen, Big Picture: Television and Lived Religion, Diane Winston, ed., 289-318. Baylor University Press, 2009.
  • “‘In the Outer Boundaries…’: Pentecostalism, Politics and Reies López Tijerina’s Civic Activism” Latino Religions and Social Action in the United States, Gaston Espinosa, Virgilio Elizondo and Jesse Miranda, eds., 65-75. Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • “DisOrienting Subjects: Reclaiming Pacific Islander / Asian American Religious Traditions” Revealing the Sacred in Asian America, Jane Iwamura and Paul Spickard, eds., 9-28. Routledge, 2003.
  • “The Gospel According to the Model Minority? Hazarding an Interpretation of Asian American Evangelical College Students” Spiritual Homes: Religion and Asian Americans, David Yoo and Russell Leong, eds., 169-187. University of Hawaii Press, 1999.
  • “‘It Really Resembled an Earthly Paradise’: Reading Motolinia’s Account of the Caída de nuestros primeros padresBiblical Interpretation 2:1 (Winter 1994), 111-137.

Courses Taught:

  • RS 9: Religion & Ethnicity
  • RS 16: Chicano/Latino Religious Traditions
  • RS 71: Introduction to Asian American Religions (ASAM 71)
  • RS 90AZ: Aztec Religion
  • RS 104: Problems in the Study of Religion (Senior Seminar)
  • RS 110F: Religion & Science Fiction
  • RS 116E: Evangelical Christianity in the U.S.
  • RS 123: Asian American Religious Traditions (ASAM 161)
  • RS 151C: Religion in the American West
  • RS 166R:  Religion and Race
  • RS 190FC:  First Contact
  • RS 191A: Latinx Religious Thought
  • INT: Freshman and Honors courses on Religion and Virtual Worlds
  • RS 266R: Graduate Seminar in Race and Religion