We may imagine that the sacred is set apart from life, but religion is involved in every aspect of our day-to-day world. How we live together and apart. How we argue. How we flourish. The sacred is the profane.

Field Notes: War on Christmas, Peace on Christmas

Field Notes: War on Christmas, Peace on Christmas

Episode 7

As China turns to the calendar to promote Han Chinese identity, both Christmas and Tibetan holidays come under fire.

Go to Episode
Sites of Memory

Sites of Memory

Episode 6

A new kind of public memory is emerging in Charlottesville's Court Square.

Go to Episode
On a Robot and a Prayer

On a Robot and a Prayer

Episode 5

We're living in an era where robots are increasingly common. So maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that robots are finding a home in religious practices.

Go to Episode
We Hold These Truths

We Hold These Truths

Episode 4

Many regard America's founding documents as something sacred. Does that lens obscure different ways of understanding these texts?

Go to Episode
The Devil’s Advocates

The Devil’s Advocates

Episode 3

Even though many do not see them as a "real" religious movement, Satanists play an important role in American religious and political life.

Go to Episode
“Black and Beautiful”

“Black and Beautiful”

Episode 2

Is it possible to translate the Bible? What gets lost in translation? What is gained?

Go to Episode
A Dictionary of All Religions

A Dictionary of All Religions

Episode 1

How did a massive compendium of religions become one of the United States' first best-sellers?

Go to Episode

Sacred & Profane Team

Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor

Martien A. Halvorson-Taylor

Co-Director and Associate Professor, Religious Studies

A scholar of the Hebrew Bible, Halvorson-Taylor focuses on the interpretation of the Babylonian exile, diaspora literature, the book of Job, and the reception of the Bible. An award-winning teacher, she offers large enrollment classes on the Hebrew Bible, as well as specialized courses on the books of Job, Genesis, and the Song of Songs. She currently serves as the Director of UVA’s Pavilion Seminars, which are focused on big topics with enduring relevance across disciplines and are aimed at advanced third- and fourth-years. Her recently published short course with Audible Books, called "Writing the Bible," explores the question, “Who wrote the Bible?” Learn more here.

Kurtis Schaeffer

Kurtis Schaeffer

Co-Director and Frances Myers Ball Professor, Religious Studies

An expert in the cultural history of Buddhism in Tibet and the author or editor of nine books, Schaeffer is interested more generally in the workings of religion in social life. He is especially interested in the ways religion moves people to action through art, literature, history, and ritual. He has directed multiple NEH summer institutes on the academic study of religion, and manages multiple collaborative digital projects. Schaeffer routinely conducts research in Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan. He served as Department Chair of Religious Studies, the largest such department at a public university in the US, for eight years.

Emily Gadek

Emily Gadek

Senior Producer

These days, Gadek spends her time producing Sacred & Profane, the Lab’s podcast exploring the many ways religion shapes our daily lives. Previously, she was a producer for Virginia Humanities’ popular American history show, BackStory, and worked on WBEZ Chicago’s morning news show Eight Forty-Eight. In other lives, she’s been an ESL teacher, a freelance audio producer and videographer, and ran a website for a midcentury modern house museum in the deep desert of Southern California.

Ashley Duffalo

Ashley Duffalo

Lab Manager

Before joining the Lab, Duffalo spent 13 years working at the Walker Art Center, a contemporary art museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where her various roles allowed her to develop public programs for youth, families, and adults; manage large-scale artist residencies; and oversee the graphic design studio. She also served on and chaired the board of a non-profit arts organization, Kulture Klub Collaborative, which brings together artists and homeless youth in the Twin Cities.