Rodger Payne, Ph.D.

Professor of Religious Studies

Contact Information

  • 250-2397
  • 138 Zageir Hall

Office Hours

  • Tuesday 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Thursday 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Note: Or by appointment.

A native of western North Carolina, I came to UNC Asheville having served on the faculties of Hampden-Sydney College, the University of Virginia, and Louisiana State University, where I chaired the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. I returned "home" in 2007 to become the first faculty member of what is now the Department of Religious Studies, and I am proud to be a part of this academic community that so highly values the liberal arts.


  • Ph.D. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • M.A. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
  • M.T.S. Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • B.A. University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina

Courses Taught

  • RELS 178: Religious Diversity in Asheville (First-Year Colloquium, Honors)
  • RELS 200: Introduction to the Study of Religion
  • RELS 215: Judaism and Christianity in the Ancient World
  • RELS 312: Religion in America to 1865
  • RELS 313: Religion in America since 1865
  • RELS 384: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the Mediterranean World
  • RELS 398: Theories and Methods in the Study of Religion
  • RELS 492: Senior Seminar: Religion in Southern Culture
  • HUM 214: The Medieval and Renaissance World (including Honors sections)
  • HUM 324: The Modern World

Professional interests

Religion and American culture, especially religion in the South, Southern Catholicism

Selected Publications

  • Southern Crossroads: Perspectives on Religion and Culture. Co-edited with Walter H. Conser, Jr. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2008
  • The Self and the Sacred: Conversion and Autobiography in Early American Protestantism. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1998
  • “Parades and Processions” (2018 online and forthcoming in print) and “Nativism and Religion” in John Corrigan, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of Religion (2017 online; forthcoming in print)
  • “Roman Catholicism” in John Lyden and Eric Mazur, ed., The Routledge Companion to Religion and Popular Culture (New York: Routledge, 2015): 419-39
  • The Wolf in the Forest: St. Francis and the Italian Eremitical Tradition,” in Cynthia Ho, Beth A. Mulvaney, and John K. Downey ed., Finding Saint Francis in Literature and Art (Palgrave, 2009), pp. 97-115
  • “Image and Imagination in the Cult of St. Amico” in Margaret Cormack, ed., Saints and Their Cults in the Atlantic World (Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2007), pp. 52-67
  • “Patronus Obscurus: Devotion to St. Amico and the Italian ‘Other’ in South Louisiana,” in Ada Savin, ed., Journey into Otherness in a series entitled “European Contributions to American Studies,” Rob Kroes, gen. ed. (Amsterdam: VU Press, 2005), pp. 39-56
  • “On Teaching Religion: A Symposium,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 65 (1997): 745-62
  • “New Light in Hanover County: Evangelical Dissent in Piedmont Virginia, 1740-1755,” Journal of Southern History 61 (1995): 665-94
  • “Metaphors of the Self and the Sacred: The Spiritual Autobiography of the Reverend Freeborn Garrettson,” Early American Literature 27 (1992): 31-48