David Holley (Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin), Professor and Department Chair.
Before moving to Southern Miss., Holley taught at universities in Kansas, Texas, and Arizona. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Delaware and the University of Notre Dame. He was selected to be Grand Marshall – Distinguished Professor at USM for 2012.
His published works are mostly on topics in philosophy of religion, ethics, and moral psychology. His latest book, Meaning and Mystery: What It Means to Believe in God, was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2010. In this book he explains why reflection on God’s existence is best carried out in the context of deciding about what he calls a life-orienting story.
His most recent journal article is “Practical Considerations and Evidence in James’s Permission to Believe”. It is available now online and will appear in a future issue of Religious Studies. Other recent articles include:
- “Religious Disagreements and Epistemic Rationality” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (2013).
- “How Can A Believer Doubt That God Exists?” The Philosophical Quarterly (2011).
- “Treating God’s Existence As An Explanatory Hypothesis” American Philosophical Quarterly (2010). (Winner of the Excellence in Philosophy of Religion Prize for one of the best three published articles in philosophy of religion in 2010).
His wife, Joyce, teaches English at Petal Middle School. David and Joyce have been backpacking multiple times in the mountains of Colorado. They have also done several whitewater rafting trips. In the summer of 2014 David accompanied Joyce to Amherst Massachusetts where she participated in a weeklong National Endowment for the Humanities Workshop on Emily Dickinson.
Michael DeArmey (Ph.D. Tulane University), Professor.
DeArmey holds a master's degree and a doctorate from Tulane University, and did postdoctoral work at Yale University.
His areas of specialization are American philosophy, philosophical theories of human nature, and ethics.
He was a Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year. He is a Charles Moorman Distinguished Professor. He is writing a book, Cosmopolitanism and the Evils of the World. His wife Stephanie works in USM's Oral History Department. Both Dr. DeArmey and Stephanie foster abandoned dogs and cats, and find homes for them.
Paula Smithka (Ph.D. Tulane University), Associate Professor.
Smithka has a doctorate and a master's degree in philosophy from Tulane University as well as a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She specializes in philosophy of science with an emphasis in philosophy of biology; and has published articles in the area of social/political philosophy, particularly concerning war and peace issues. Dr. Smithka teaches courses in philosophy of science, epistemology, logic, and introduction to philosophy, including an Honors College section of the course. She developed a new course, Philosophy through Science Fiction, which was taught for the first time in the spring semester of 2012.
She has a book out, edited with Courtland Lewis as part of Open Court Press’ Popular Culture and Philosophy series—Doctor Who and Philosophy: Bigger on the Inside (December 2010). This book is fun and serious philosophy, addressing philosophical issues in the longest-running science fiction show in history, the British series Doctor Who. Author-contributors to the volume span the globe. Philosophical issues addressed in the book include: personal identity, philosophy of science, ethics, existential concerns, aesthetics, and the impact of Doctor Who on British culture in particular, but human culture more generally.
She also has another book, Community, Diversity, and Difference: Implications for Peace, edited with Alison Bailey from Rodopi Press (2002). This book contains chapters addressing nationalism, identity politics, multiculturalism, democracy, peace-making strategies, among other topics.
Her present research interests include philosophy of biology, philosophy of mind, and, in the area of social/political philosophy, the issue of tolerance and war and peace issues. She enjoys travel, beaches, birds, and of course, science fiction.
Samuel Bruton (Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Associate Professor.
Bruton has taught at Southern Miss for the past thirteen years.
Dr. Bruton specializes in ethical theory and applied ethics. Most recently, he has published articles in Accountability in Research, Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, and the Journal of Business Ethics. He regularly teaches courses in research ethics, ethical theory, modern philosophy, philosophy of music, critical thinking and political philosophy, and is also the Director of USM’s Office of Research Integrity.
His wife, Beth, is a pediatric nurse practitioner at USM's Institute for Disability Studies, and he has two children, Ainsley and Davis. Dr. Bruton is an accomplished jazz pianist who has recently performed with Delfeayo Marsalis, the USM Symphony, Kaiso!, and other local artists.
Daniel Capper (Ph.D. University of Chicago Divinity School), Associate Professor.
Capper has a doctorate from the University of Chicago Divinity School as well as a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in religious studies from the University of Virginia. He was a Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year.
Dr. Capper's areas of research include Tibetan Buddhism, religion and psychology, religion and anthropology, alternative religion in the United States, and religion and nonhuman animals.
Most recently he published Learning Love from a Tiger: Religious Experiences with Nature from the University of California Press. In an accessible way this book examines a multitude of religious experiences of the nonhuman natural world from across several traditions to come to an understanding of why and how the religions of the world might engender both positive and problematic relationships with nature.
Dr. Capper also authored the book, Guru Devotion and the American Buddhist Experience, from the Edwin Mellen Press. This book is an ethnographic exploration of Tibetan Buddhist practice and guru devotion among non-Tibetan Americans. He further has published several articles on teacher-disciple relationships, interpersonal religious healing, and ethnographic theory.
The recipient of teaching awards from the Mississippi Humanities Council and the USM College of Arts and Letters, currently he teaches comparative religion, Buddhism, religion and healing, Himalayan religions, religions of India study abroad, Native American religions, and mysticism. He enjoys animals, social activism, sacred art, mountains, and travel.
Chris Meyers (Ph.D. Loyola University in Chicago), Associate Professor.
Meyers has a doctorate in philosophy from Loyola University in Chicago. He specializes in ethical theory, applied ethics, and contemporary philosophy. He has recently published articles in Social Theory and Practice, Philosophical Studies, and Synthese. His book, The Fetal Position: A Rational Approach to the Abortion Debate, was published in the spring of 2010. He teaches Ethics, Healthcare Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Business Ethics, MetaEthics, Moral Psychology, and Human Nature.
Morgan Rempel (Ph.D. University of Toronto), Associate Professor.
Dr. Rempel has a doctorate and a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto (with a minor in religious studies), as well as a bachelor's degree in psychology from York University.
He is the author of Nietzsche, Psychohistory, and the Birth of Christianity (Greenwood Press, 2003), and articles on 19th & 20th century European thought, ancient philosophy, ancient religion, genocide, philosophy and film, psychoanalytic theory, and the philosophy of religion.
The recipient of teaching awards from the Mississippi Humanities Council and the University of Southern Mississippi, Professor Rempel’s recent courses have included Existentialism and Phenomenology, Ethics and Good Living, Philosophy and Film, and the Philosophy of Love and Sexuality.
Amy A. Slagle (Ph.D. University of Pittsburgh), Assistant Professor.
Slagle has a doctorate in religious studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Slagle's research interests include Eastern Orthodox Christianity, religious conversion, ritual studies, Christian material/visual culture, and theories and methods in the study of religion. Her book, The Eastern Church in the Spiritual Marketplace: American Conversions to Orthodox Christianity (Northern Illinois University Press), was published in the fall of 2011. In the spring of 2012 Dr. Slagle received the College of Arts and Letters Junior Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award.
Ben C. Hardman (Ph.D. Temple University), Assistant Professor.
Hardman holds a doctorate in religion from Temple University. He also holds M.A. degrees in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations from Hartford Seminary and in English Literature from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Dr. Hardman's specialties are in Islam in North Africa and Europe, Islamic Mysticism and Christian-Muslim dialogue. He teaches courses in Comparative Religion and in Islam. He has also taught courses in Religion and Literature.
In 2009, he published Islam and the Métropole: A Case Study of Religion and Rhetoric in Algeria which explores the colonial policies of France regarding Islam and the lingering effects they had on religious ideology in the early days of Algerian independence.
Before coming to USM, Dr. Hardman lived and worked for over a decade in Tunisia and Algeria.
Allan W. Eickelmann (D.Min McCormick Theological Seminary), Instructor.
Eicklemann teaches religious studies on the Gulf Coast. He holds a D.Min. from McCormick Theological Seminary, an M.S. from George Williams College, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, an M.Div. from Bethany Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Northern Illinois University.
His academic focus is in the fields of religiously motivated violence, comparative religious ethics, and religious experience. Dr. Eickelmann has developed several new courses for the USM curriculum, including "Religion and Violence," which he is currently teaching. He is the lead editor of Justice and Violence, published by Ashgate in 2005. Dr. Eickelmann is also the chair of the Issues and Answers lecture series on the coast, and the host of the radio program, As a Matter of Faith, which is aired on WUSM in Hattiesburg.
Dr. Eickelmann and his wife Margene are living in their Ocean Springs home which was rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Eickelmann is a member of the Ocean Springs Rotary Club. He loves cats, jazz and Cajun cooking.
Susan Mullican (M.A. University of Southern Mississippi), Instructor
Mullican teaches philosophy at USM GC. She is the main instructor for classes in Business Ethics but also teaches Introduction to Philosophy and Introduction to Logic when necessary. Ms. Mullican holds a MA from USM in philosophy and did post graduate work at Florida State University. Her main area of interest is Ethics with an emphasis on Business Ethics. She lives on the Coast with her two dogs, Brownie and Blue.
Normia Davis, Administrative Assistant
Campus Security Authority
Ben C. Hardman