Faculty & Staff Directory
Laura Alexander, PhD
Dr. Laura Alexander is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, with a specialty in Religion and Human Rights. In addition, she is the first recipient of the Goldstein Family Community Chair in Human Rights at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She 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 co-chaired 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, tentatively titled The Meaning of My Neighbor’s Faith: Interreligious Reflections on Immigration.
In university teaching, Dr. Alexander offers a variety of courses, including “Religion and Human Rights” and “Introduction to Religious Ethics.” Some of her other areas of teaching expertise include the following: religion and migration; religion, just war, and peacebuilding; 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 current research, Dr. Alexander is working on a conference presentation comparing Sikh and Christian ideas about hospitality in the context of the global refugee crisis, as well as an article under revision that addresses trends in religious ethical thinking about immigration in the United States. Her current book project seeks to compare Christian, Muslim, and Jewish thinking about just war and sovereign authority, 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. Her work will engage students, faculty, administrators, and staff at UNO, alongside 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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