Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Christopher Laursen

Instructor, Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Dr. Christopher Laursen is an interdisciplinary scholar of religions, science, and nature from Canada. In 2018, he was awarded for Excellence in e-Learning at UNCW for his GLS online courses. A former journalist and radio producer, Dr. Laursen has published in a variety of anthologies and the magazine Fortean Times. You can learn more about his work on his website,


Ph.D., History, University of British Columbia

M.A., History, University of Guelph

B.A., History, Carleton University

Major Publications:

“Plurality through Imagination: The Emergence of Online Tulpa Communities in the Making of New Identities,” Believing in Bits: Digital Technology and the Supernatural, edited by D.W. Pasulka and Simone Natale (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2018).

With Sylvana d’Angelo, Paranormal Activity (trans)formation (Vancouver: Zine Club, 2018).

“The Poltergeist at the Intersection of the Spirit and the Material: Some Contemporary and Historical Observations,” Super Religion, edited by Jeffrey J. Kripal (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Macmillan Reference, 2016), 311-326.

With Eden S. French, “The Transmediumizers,” Damned Facts: Fortean Essays on Religion, Folklore, and the Paranormal, edited by Jack Hunter (Paphos: Cyprus: Aporetic Press, 2016), 97-112.

Encyclopedic entries on “Poltergeist,” “Psychokinesis,” “Animals and the Paranormal,” and “The Paranormal on Television” in Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics: The Paranormal from Alchemy to Zombies, edited by Matt Cardin (Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2015).

“Explicable Orbs, Spirit Wonders,” Paranormal Activity (Dis)Ambiguation, curated and edited by Sylvana d’Angelo (Vancouver: Project Space Press, 2015).

“Preserving Parapsychology,” Fortean Times 319 (October 2014), 56-57.

With Paul Cropper, “The Baldoon Mystery,” Fortean Times 215 (June 2014), 30-39.

“Turning to the Affective in Direct Experiences: An Interdisciplinary, Investigative Quest,” Paranthropology 4, no. 1(a) (January 2013), 41-50.

Courses Taught:

GLS 502 Contemporary Issues in Liberal Studies -- This course is also taught by other instructors. The description may list an instructor other than Christopher.

GLS 522 Shamanism

GLS 532 Conservation and Culture

GLS 592 Frontier Sciences (to be GLS 531 starting Fall 2019)

GLS 592 First Contact: Encounters with the Unexpected (one-time offering, Spring 1 OAP 2019)

GLS 598 Final Project in Liberal Studies -- This course is also taught by other instructors. The description may list an instructor other than Christopher.

Dr. Laursen also teaches undergraduate courses in the Department of History and Philosophy and Religion Department at UNCW.

Academic Interests:

Christopher Laursen focuses on how modern people experience and try to explain their encounters with nature, in particular when it is outside how people typically understand nature (what might be called preternatural, super natural, or most commonly paranormal). In relation to this, he examines how consciousness relates to nature and human experiences in the making, maintenance, and disruptions of epistemologies (ways of knowing) and ontologies (ways of being).


Last Updated: March 21, 2019