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.
In research and academic service, Dr. Alexander is co-editor of The Meaning of My Neighbor’s Faith: Interreligious Reflections on Immigration (Lexington, 2018) and contributed chapters to both that volume and Strangers in this World: Multi-Religious Reflections on Immigration (Fortress Press, 2015). She served as co-chair of the Interreligious Reflections on Immigration seminar at the American Academy of Religion annual meeting from 2014-18. Forthcoming articles include Jewish thought about sovereignty and war; comparative Sikh and Christian ethics of hospitality toward refugees; and a book chapter on Christian and Muslim liberation theology and human rights. Overall, her work seeks to understand religious thought about just war and sovereign authority, in order to better understand and use religious ethical resources for confronting contemporary issues of sovereignty, nationalism, conflict, and peacemaking.
In university teaching, Dr. Alexander's courses include “Religion and Human Rights”; "War, Religion, and Human Rights"; and “Introduction to Religious Ethics.” Several of her courses include service-learning components. 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 community service, Dr. Alexander works to bring together university and community members for education and advocacy in the area of religion and human rights. As Community Chair, she is the organizer of Human Rights Week at UNO; the Human Rights Forum under the auspices of the Goldstein Center for Human Rights; and an essay contest in human rights. The Community Chair also sponsors or co-sponsors multiple engagement events related to current social issues and human rights. Recent events included highlighting the connections between military veterans and refugees, and a documentary screening on Syrian refugees in Baltimore.