Peter Savastano, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Religious Studies
Department of Sociology Anthropology and Social Work
Dr. Savastano teaches various courses in Anthropology and Religious Studies such as Religions of the World; Jewish/Christian Studies-Lessons from the Holocaust; courses about the relationship between religion, gender, sexuality & race; religion, consciousness and the paranormal; folklore and mythology; the anthropological study of shamanic healing and mysticism in Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.
Interests and Accomplishments:
Dr. Savastano’s research and writing interests include: the intersection/clash of religion and sexuality; vernacular Christianity (i.e. "folk" Catholicism and "folk" Eastern Orthodoxy) and the devotional and ritual practices associated with it; the cult of the Virgin Mary and the saints in both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Dr. Savastano also studies Christian monasticism as it developed in late antiquity and in it's contemporary 21st century context; contemplative life, practice and pedagogy and the negative effects of globalization and information technology on the human capacity of wonder and awe; the lives and works of Thomas Merton, Bede Griffiths, and Henri Le Saux—Roman Catholic mystics, social reformers and pioneers of inter-religious theology, dialogue and practice; the relationship between altered states of consciousness, ritual, healing and religion in western and eastern religious traditions and in the African-based traditions of Haitian Vodou and Cuban Santeria. Some of Dr. Savastano's publications over the years have appeared in the peer reviewed journals: Theology and Sexuality (Volume 14.1, September 2007) and Transformations, the Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy (Volume XVIII, No. 2, Fall 2007/Winter 2008); and in the edited collections: Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian American Lives (2011 Fordham University Press) and, Christianity and Culture in the City: A Post Colonial Approach (Lexington Books. 2012). Please see "Scholarship" below for more recent publications.
- Ph.D., Drew University
- M. Phil., Drew University
- B.A., Montclair State University
Savastano, Peter. 2020. "Why Not Ten Sixty Foot Wells?" in Theology Without Walls, The Transreligious Imperative, Jerry L. Martin, Editor. (London and New York: Routledge Press);
Savastano, Peter, Editor. 2019. Merton & Indigenous Wisdom (Louisville, Ky: Fons Vitae Press);
Savastano, Peter. 2015. "Thomas Merton Saved My Life and Taught Me What It Means to Be Truly Catholic" in We Are Already One, Essays in Honor of the Centennial of Thomas Merton's Birth, Editor Jonathan Montaldo (Louisville, KY: Fons Vitae Press).
Review of Hidden: Reflections on Gay Life, AIDS, and Spiritual Desire, Italian American Review, Volume 2, Number 2., July 2013
Christianity and Culture in Dialogue: A Reader, Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2013
The Use Of Roman Catholic Material Culture, Ritual And Devotional Practices In Haitian Vodou In The Greater Newark, New Jersey Area: The Urban Context
in Christianity and Culture in the City: A Post Colonial Approach. Cruz, Samuel, Editor. New York: Lexington Books., December 2012
The Journey of Transformation: A Reader, Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing, 2012
"Changing of St. Gerard's Clothes: An Exercise In Italian American Catholic Devotion and Material Culture.", In Sciorra, Joseph, Editor. Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian American Lives. New York: Fordham University Press., December 2010
“‘St. Gerard Teaches Him That Love Cancels That Out,’ Devotion to St. Gerard Maiella Among Italian American Catholic Gay Men In Newark, New Jersey.", In Gay Religion, Scott Thumma and Edward Gray, Editors. Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press., September 2005
"An Anthropologist Among Attorneys: Thoughts on Biological Sex, Gender, Marriage, and the Family", Women’s Rights Law Reporter, A Rutgers Law School Publication. Fall 2004, Volume 25, Number 4, 213-217., September 2004