Courses Designed and Taught

COURSES DESIGNED AND TAUGHT:

Graduate:
African and African Diaspora Traditions
Methodological Approaches and Contemporary Issues in Religious Studies
Ritual and the Embodied Imagination (residential and online delivery)
Myths and Social Imaginaries in the Global Era
Research Strategies
Dissertation Formulation
Divination, Synchronicity & the Uncanny
Tricksters, Witches and Women: Myth, Gender and Power in Africa

Undergraduate:
Comparative Religious Ethics: East, West and South
Religions East and West: The Body
Introduction to Religious Studies: Theory and Method
The Construction of Religion and the Encounter of Cultures
African Religions
Vodou, Santería, Candomblé: Three Religions of the African Diaspora
Ritual Masks of the World: Religious Meaning and Social Function
The Myth and Ritual Process
Saints & Sinners: The religious journey in film and literature
Religious Autobiography & Biography

My courses, for both undergraduates and graduate students, are designed to be probing, engaging, and creative. They have been popular and featured favorites. Grounded in Religious Studies and Cultural Anthropology, I also draw on Ritual Studies, Art, and Literature. I use multi-media and organize my classes to appeal to a variety of learning styles. I especially encourage active engagement in classroom discussion, thought experiments, and hands-on workshops that profit from facilitated peer feedback.

Whether in the classroom, online hybrid classes and guiding virtual discussions, private Tutorials, or through extensive written feedback, I enable students to follow their own most gripping questions and encourage them to use the material to know – or change – their own minds.

Because my work is comparative in nature, the material I teach has ranged from ancient philosophy to contemporary religion in politics and media. While I specialize in West Africa and the African Diaspora in the Americas, my teaching draws on a multiplicity of other cases as well: Native North American healing traditions, Aztec sacrifice and ethics, Indonesian treatments of death, Sri Lankan pilgrimage, European masking traditions and the evolution of Halloween, Feasting and Fasting in medieval Christianity, dietary prescription in Judaism, and Chinese divination and magic, to name a few.

For 13 years I taught a workshop-style course, “Dissertation Formulation,” in which students developed a concept into a fully articulated research proposal. I designed my “Research” course  to help doctoral students work strategically, while offering techniques to overcome common psychological obstacles. (see Dissertation Coach/Editor page)

Presentation at Pacifica Graduate Institute

Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) – Nigeria

I was invited to serve as a Faculty-Mentor for the first Summer Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria in 2017, and taught the following workshops:

  • Research strategies and the use of technological resources
  • Thesis Development: Researchable questions that offer traction and create new knowledge

Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) – http://www.ias-iin.com/scholars/laura-grillo/

Huffington Post

“At the Mythological center of the World, a Unique Pedagogical Initiative Launches in Nigeria” co-authored with Samantha Lakin. The Huffington Post (August 3, 2017). https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/at-the-mythological-center-of-the-world-a-unique-pedagogical_us_5982df82e4b0396a95c874e4

Harvard Divinity School