Dr. Michele Marie Desmarais is is an Associate Professor in Religious Studies, associate editor of the Journal of Religion and Film, and a member of the Native American Studies Faculty and Women’s Studies Faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). Her book, Changing Minds, was included as one of 250 foundational texts in the field of Science and Religion by the International Society for Science and Religion.
Dr. Desmarais was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia and is Métis-Canadian with Dakota ancestry. She has a BA in Psychology from Simon Fraser University, an MA in Religious Studies from the University of British Columbia, and a PhD in Asian Studies also from U.B.C.
Dr. Desmarais' specialties include: Indian thought; Yoga Psychology; Religion and the brain; and Religion and film. She teaches courses on Hinduism, Buddhism, Eastern Religions, First Nations Studies, Mysticism, Religion and the Brain, Sanskrit, and Introduction to World Religions at UNO.
In addition to these scholarly publications, Dr. Desmarais has over a dozen poems published in Canadian literary journals such as Descant, Contemporary Verse 2, Antigonish Review, Prairie Fire, Secrets from the Orange Couch and Other Voices. Her plays, a little something for the chickens, and mystics, were produced at Firehouse Theatre and Station Street Arts Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Articles and Book Chapters
- “Close Relations: Pandits, Pedagogy and Plasticity” in Saṃskṛta-Sādhutā ‘Goodness of Sanskrit’: Studies in Honour of Professor Ashok Aklujkar, ChikafumiWatanabe, Michele Marie Desmarais, and Yoshichika Honda (editors). New Delhi: DK Printworld (P) Ltd. (forthcoming 2011).
- “The Power of Film/The Power of Religion,” with William L. Blizek in Proceedings of the Avanca International Conference Cinema: Art, Technology, Communication, July 2010.
- “Buddhism and Film” in Continuum Companion to Religion and Film. William L. Blizek, ed. London: Continuum (June 2009), p. 148-156.
- “Hinduism and Film” with Birud Sindhav in Continuum Companion to Religion and Film. William L. Blizek, ed. London: Continuum (June 2009), p. 157-166.
- “Karma and Film” in Continuum Companion to Religion and Film. William L. Blizek, ed. London: Continuum (June 2009), pp.281-289.
- “What Are We Teaching When We Teach Religion and Film,” with Dr. William L. Blizek, in Teaching Religion & Film, Greg Watkins, ed. New York: Oxford University Press (August 2008).
- "Liberation in Yoga," (journal article) Quest, Spring 1996.
Dr. Desmarais is a recipient of a number of awards including:
- UNO College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Development Fellowship, Spring 2010 (to study neuroscience, complete Saṃskṛta-Sādhutā, and begin a new book project)
- UNO’s College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award (2008)
- Honorary Inductee, Alpha Sigma Lambda 2006 (for work with non-traditional students)
- Canadian National Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship (Philosophy)
Dr. Desmarais' email address is firstname.lastname@example.org