Philosophy and Religion

Dr. Diana Walsh Pasulka, Professor 

Diana Walsh Pasulka, Professor and Chair of Dept. of Philosophy and Religion, UNCW

Information on Dr. Pasulka
Office: Bear Hall 
Phone: (910) 962-7750

Areas of Training

  • Catholic Studies
  • Religion and New Media, Digital Culture
  • Gender Roles and Religion


  • American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, and Technology .  A fascinating study of the subject of UFOs and extraterrestrials by one the country’s innovative scholars. The author travels from the desert of New Mexico, to Silicon Valley, and the Vatican Secret Archive and Space Observatory. She interviews brilliant scientists who believe their innovative technologies are inspired by alien artifacts.

    Could technology be that weird? The answer is, yes.

    Reviews of Dr. Pasulka's Work

    Publishers Weekly

    “Pasulka approaches UFO believers with an open mind in her irresistible debut, diving into how technology and media are creating a new religious experience for them. Pasulka gives wonderful, entertaining insight into the curious study of UFOs” Starred Review


    “As the author documents, about one-third of Americans believe in UFOs. Enthusiasts hold conventions, and their websites pepper the internet, but Pasulka discovers a subculture of scientist believers who keep their research secret for fear of ruining their reputations.”

    "Pasulka's book is nothing short of spectacular and intriguing-a mind-blowing read with fascinating insight. Her research and knowledge present a whole new truth, some of which is very scary, and we don't scare easily." --Chad and Carey Hayes, writers of The Conjuring and The Conjuring II

    "From a solid base of scholarship Dr. Pasulka introduces us to the players at the frontier of biological and physical research. Her sharp insight is drawn from her research into spiritual phenomena, updated by her travels from the purported UFO crash sites of New Mexico to the archives of the Vatican. The result is a timely introduction to the revelations in our collective future." --Jacques F. Vallée, author of Wonders in the Sky
    "UFOs are a remarkable phenomenon that both believers and skeptics initially have a hard time connecting to religion. American Cosmic is a vivid and even moving account of the way this strange world works as a kind of sacred mystery for those within it." --T.M. Luhrmann, author of When God Talks Back
    Available for Purchase
    Barnes and Noble
    Oxford Press
  • Heaven Can Wait: Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular Culture ; Oxford University Press, 2014. An examination of the doctrine of purgatory, from a "place on earth" to a doctrine of the Catholic Church.


  • Posthumanism: The Future of Homo Sapiens. Co-edited with Michael Bess. Forthcoming by Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA.
  • Digital Media and the Supernatural. Edited by Diana Walsh Pasulka and Simone Natale.
    Forthcoming with Oxford University Press.


Awards, Blogs, Publications

Recipient of research grant awards from the following institutions:

  • Louisville Institute
  • American Academy of Religion
  • Valparaiso University
  • Society for the Arts in Religious Studies
  • University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • Esalen Center for Theory and Research


  • Ph.D. Syracuse University
  • M.A. Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley
  • B.A. University of California at Davis

Selected Essays and Peer Reviewed Articles

  • “The Pre-History of the Post Human: Precedents of Posthuman Thought in the Western Tradition,” Posthumanism: The Future of Homo Sapiens. Co-edited with Michael Bess. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA. 2017
  • “The Total Recall Effect: Techno-Human Hybridity and Degrees of the Posthuman,” Posthumanism: The Future of Homo Sapiens. Co-edited with Michael Bess. Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA. 2017
  • "The Catholic Afterlife." In Routledge Companion to Death and Dying. Edited by Christopher Moreman. New York: Routledge Press, 2017.
  • "The Fairy Tale is True: Social Technologies of the Religious Supernatural in Film and New Media." The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, June, 2016.
  • "Virtual Religion: Popular Culture and the Digital World." Jeffrey J. Kripal, April DeConick, Anthony Pinn, eds. Religion: Sources, Perspectives, and Methodologies . Part of the Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Religion series. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2016.
  • "From Purgatory to the UFO Phenomenon." In MacMillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Religion Series. Volume Nine: Super Religion. Edited by Jeffrey Kripal. New York: MacMillan Press.
  • A Somber Pedagogy: the Child Death Bed Scene in Early American Religious and Popular Literature, 1780-1920." Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, published by John Hopkins University Press. (2009)
  • "The Eagle and the Dove: Constructing Catholic Identity through Word and Image in Early American Catholic Popular Literature." Material Religion: the Journal of Arts, Objects and Belief. Berg publishing: ( November, 2008)
  • "Pre-Modern Scriptures in Post-Modern Times: an Analysis of the Revival Movement of Traditional Reading Practices." Postscripts: the Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds. (2008)
  • "Purgatory in the Carolinas: Catholic Devotional Practices in the Nineteenth Century." Religion in the South Series, Kentucky University Press (2008)
  • "A Communion of Little Saints: Nineteenth-Century American Child Hagiographies." Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion. 23.2 (2007) 51-67
  • "The Cowboy and the Christian: the Representation of Christian Pacifism in the Early Western." Thinking About Religion: The Journal of the North Carolina Religious Studies Association. Volume 6 (2006)
  • "An Ethics of Representation: A Case of Redemptive Storytelling," Arts: The Arts in Religious and Theological Studies 15.2 (Fall 2005).
  • "Passion Tickets Bear Mark of Beast! Religious Authority, Otherworld Realism, and Popular Film." Journal of Religion and Popular Culture. Volume XI: (Fall, 2005)

Courses Taught

  • PAR 125: Great Books of the Worlds' Religions
  • PAR 225: Women and Religion
  • PAR 301: Methods and Theory in Religious Studies
  • PAR 344: Religion, New Media and Popular Culture
  • PAR 495: Women in Early Christianity
  • PAR 499: Honors work in Religion

President, The Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion, AAR. SECSOR

Co-Chair, American Academy of Religion: Death, Dying and Afterlife

Religious Studies National Honor Society: Theta Alpha Kappa