Shanny Luft

Associate Professor of

Religious Studies


Ph.D. — Religion in America, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, May 2008
M.A. — Religion and Culture, Boston University, May 2001
B.S. — English with a concentration in Secondary Education, Towson University, 1995

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)


Shanny Luft received his M.A. in Religion and Culture from Boston University and his Ph.D. in Religion in America from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He taught at UNC-Chapel Hill, Meredith College, and the College of Wooster before coming to UWSP in 2009 with his wife and two children. His research interests include religion and popular culture, new religious movements, and American evangelicalism and fundamentalism. He is currently writing a book about evangelical attitudes toward the film industry in the early twentieth century.

Select Publications

"Amusement Parks” and “Film: the United States” Encyclopedia of the Modern World, Peter Stearns, ed. (Oxford University Press, 2008).

"Boycotts” Encyclopedia of Religion, Communication, and Media, Daniel A. Stout, ed. (Routledge Press, 2005).

“Evil” Encyclopedia of Fundamentalism, Brenda E. Brasher, ed. (Routledge Press, 2000).


“The Celestial Menace: Exploring Early Twentieth-Century Fundamentalist Rage against Movie Stars” a paper examining Christian rhetoric toward the legitimate stage and the movie theater, Religion and Media Workshop hosted by the Auburn Center, Montreal, Canada, Fall 2009

“Playing with Fire” a paper on nineteenth century evangelical attitudes toward leisure, at the Midwestern regional American Academy of Religion conference, Spring 2009.

“From Stage to Screen,” an examination of the history of Christian rhetoric toward the theater and cinema, Duke University Religion and Media conference, Spring 2008

“Born Digital/Born Again Digital,” a paper on the history of religious video games, at the American Academy of Religion annual conference, Fall 2008

“The Theater and the Church: The Hostile Reception of Fundamentalists toward the Hollywood Film Industry, 1915-1955” at the Popular Culture Association annual conference, Spring 2007

“Students and Faith in the Classroom,” at the Teaching Religion in the South conference at UNC-Chapel Hill, Spring 2006 “The Devil in American Popular Culture” at the American Academy of Religion annual conference, Fall 2004

“Left Behind—Fact or Fiction: A Conversation of the Ecumenical Dilemmas in the Fundamentalist-Millenarian Tensions Within Pentecostalism” at the Society for Pentecostal Studies annual conference, Fall 2004

“Evangelicals and the Movies: A Study of Christianity Today” at the Popular Culture Association annual conference, Fall 2004

“Left Behind: The Economics of the Apocalypse” at the American Academy of Religion southeast regional conference, Spring 2003

“Satan in Contemporary American Film” at the Boston Theological Institute Faith and Film Festival, Spring 2001

Contact Information

​Office: ​CCC 420
​Phone: ​715.346.4047
​Fax: ​715.346.4215


REL 101 Judaism, Christianity, Islam
REL 107 Religious Autobiographies
REL 202 Introduction to the Study of Religion
REL 304 New Testament and Early Christianity
REL 311 Religion in America
REL 317 New Religious Movements
REL 318 Religion and Popular Culture
REL 343​ Judaism
REL 344​ Christianity​​