Laura Alexander, PhD
- Goldstein Family Chair in Human Rights
- Assistant Professor
- ASH 205A
Dr. Laura Alexander is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, with a specialty in Religion and Human Rights. She is the first recipient of the Goldstein Family Community Chair in Human Rights at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Dr. Alexander received her Ph.D. in Religious Ethics from the University of Virginia and her M.Div. and B.A. degrees from the University of Chicago. Prior to earning her graduate degrees, she participated in two year-long service programs, teaching English in a small community in Thailand and working in refugee services in Minneapolis, MN.
In addition to religion and human rights, her areas of research and teaching include comparative religious ethics, religion and immigration, and religious thinking about just war and national sovereignty, especially in relation to the idea of Responsibility to Protect. She has given multiple presentations in these areas, participated in a working group on religion and refugee issues, and is co-chair of the Interreligious Reflections on Immigration seminar at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting. She has also contributed a chapter to an edited volume, Strangers in this World: Multi-Religious Reflections on Immigration (Fortress Press, 2015), and is currently co-editing the follow-up volume, The Meaning of My Neighbor’s Faith: Interreligious Reflections on Immigration, scheduled for publication in 2019.
In university teaching, Dr. Alexander offers a variety of courses, including “Religion and Human Rights”; "War, Religion, and Human Rights"; and “Introduction to Religious Ethics.” Some of her other areas of teaching expertise include religion and migration, healthcare and human rights, and business ethics. She has a particular interest in student advising and student development, having previously worked as an academic and career advisor, and all of her courses include the goal of helping students gain – and articulate – the skills and knowledge that will help them begin fulfilling careers and act in their communities as engaged citizens.
In research, Dr. Alexander has a forthcoming book chapter on religious ethical perspectives on the current refugee crisis and a forthcoming article on Jewish thought about war and international law. An upcoming presentation will discuss Christian realist and postcolonial thought on contemporary questions about national sovereignty and human rights protection. Overall, her current work seeks to understand religious thought about just war and sovereign authority, with a focus on comparing Jewish, Christian, and Muslim perspectives, in order to better understand and use religious ethical resources for confronting contemporary global issues of sovereignty, nationalism, violence, and peacemaking.In community service, Dr. Alexander works to bring together university and community members for education and advocacy in the area of religion and human rights. She is the organizer of Human Rights Week at UNO as well as an essay contest in human rights open to both university and community members. She also sponsors or co-sponsors multiple engagement events related to current social issues and human rights. Her work engages students, faculty, administrators, and staff at UNO, as well as religious communities, nonprofits, and education and outreach organizations in the Omaha area and beyond, with the goal of enhancing dialogue, building bridges, and promoting understanding of and support for the human rights of all people.
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