Comparative Religion and Humanities

Vanessa Avery


  • Ph.D., The University of Exeter, U.K., Theology

My academic background is in comparative religion, world religions, interreligious understanding, and religion and non-violence.  Inspired by my academic studies in religion, I began the first organization in the country focused on education and coaching on religious diversity and religion in the workplace back in 1998.  Currently, I am the Director of the Interreligious Communities Project for an organization called Sharing Sacred Spaces, Inc., for whom I build local interreligious communities in cities around the world.  We build these interreligious communities by focusing on the compelling allure of sacred architecture, and by learning how different people understand and make meaning in their sacred space. 

The online course I teach at Chico -- The Sociology of Religion-- offers a virtual way for community-building around the topic of religion.  The course addresses the what, when, and why's of religion, how one studies religion from a sociological perspective, and covers some of the main methods and topics within the field.  The course also offers students a field opportunity to learn about an unfamiliar religion first-hand.  

In addition to teaching for Chico, I am Lecturer of Interfaith Engagement at Yale Divinity School, and author of the forthcoming book The End of Violence.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Portrait of Vanessa Avery