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Donald A. Westbrook

Donald A. Westbrook

Contact

Donald A. Westbrook
Los Angeles, California
donald.westbrook@alumni.cgu.edu

Research Foci

History of Religion, New Religious Movements, American Religious History, Coptic Studies, Middle Eastern Christianity, Sociology of Religion, Ethnography, Diaspora Studies

Education

  • Ph.D. Religion, Department of Religion, Claremont Graduate University (2015)
    Dissertation: "A People’s History of the Church of Scientology"
  • M.A. Theology, School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary (2009)
  • B.A. Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley (2006)

Academic Appointments

  • Hoogleraar (Professor) and Mentor of Research Team, FVG (2016-present)
  • Lecturer, Center for the Study of Religion, University of California, Los Angeles (Spring 2016-)
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Church History, Department of Church History, Fuller Theological Seminary (2015-present)
  • Research Associate, St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society, Los Angeles (2015-present)
  • Research Associate, Claremont Coptic Encyclopedia (CCE) Project, Claremont Colleges Digital Library, Claremont, CA, USA (2012-present)

Selected Publications

  • (Does Not Include Forthcoming/In Process)
  • Westbrook, Donald A., and Saad Michael Saad. “Religious Identity and Borderless Territoriality in the Coptic e-Diaspora,” Journal of International Migration and Integration (2016).
  • Westbrook, Donald A. “Walking in Ron’s Footsteps: ‘Pilgrimage' Sites of the Church of Scientology,” Numen: International Review for the History of Religions. Special Issue on Scientology 63:1 (2016): 71-94
  • Saad, Saad Michael, and Donald A. Westbrook. “Copts, Scripturalization, and Identity in the Diaspora.” In Vincent L. Wimbush, ed., Scripturalizing the Human: The Written as the Political. New York: Routledge, 2015.
  • Westbrook, Donald A. “Christian Science and Scientology: Ecclesiologies Compared," Acta Comparanda: Subsidia II. Special Issue on Christian Science (2015).
  • ___. “Saint Hill and the Development of Systematic Theology in the Church of Scientology (1959-1967),” Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review 6:1 (2015): 111-155.
  • Saad, Saad Michael, Nardine Saad Riegels, and Donald A. Westbrook. “Traditions of Selecting Coptic Patriarchs Over Two Millennia.” Journal of Coptic Studies 16:1 (2014).
  • Westbrook, Donald A. “Scientology as ‘Spiritual Technology.’” Cosmologics Magazine. Harvard Divinity School, 3 September 2014.
  • ___. “Freedom of Religion as a Human Right: The Council of Europe’s Upcoming Vote on ‘Sect Observatories.’” World Religion News, 19 March 2014.
  • ___. “Coptic Monastic Inspirations for Lent,” interview with Rev. Dr. Tim Vivian. Watani International, 18 March 2013.
  • ___. “Catholic-Mormon Relations.” The Religious Educator 13:1 (2012): 35-53.
  • ___. “A Very Brief History of the Lausanne Movement.” Evangelical Interfaith Dialogue. 1(2) (2010): 17.
  • Review of Gawdat Gabra, ed. Coptic Civilization: Two Thousand Years of Christianity in Egypt. New York and Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2014. In Watani International, June 2014.
  • Review of Carolyn Ludwig and Morris Jackson, eds. The History and Religious Heritage of Old Cairo: Its Fortress, Churches, Synagogue, and Mosque. New York and Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2013. In Watani International, June 2013.
  • Review of Mark A. Noll and James Turner, The Future of Christian Learning: An Evangelical and Catholic Dialogue. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2008. In Evangelical Interfaith Dialogue, Spring 2010.

Recent Presentations

  • “Copts, e-Diasporas, and Dynamics of Identity Formation Post-Arab Spring: Three European Case Studies,” Conference of the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SESAMO), University of Catania, Sicily (March 2016)
  • “The Art of PR War: Scientology, the Media, and Legitimation Strategies for the 21st Century,” Workshop on New Religious Movements and Media, University of Montreal (March 2016)
  • “Keeping Scientology Working: Systematic Theology, Orthodoxy, and Heresy in the Church of Scientology,” British Association for the Study of Religion Annual Conference, University of Kent, Canterbury (September 2015)
  • “Forces and Fields of Identity Preservation in the Coptic Diaspora,” with Dr. Saad Michael Saad, Seventeenth St. Shenouda-UCLA Conference of Coptic Studies, University of California, Los Angeles (July 2015)
  • “‘Out of Egypt I Have Called My Son’: Hybridized and Digitized Identities of Copts in the Diaspora,” Defining and Identifying Middle Eastern Christian Communities in Europe (DIMECCE) Conference, University of St. Andrews, Scotland (May 2015)
  • “Christian Science and Scientology: Ecclesiologies Compared,” presented in absentia, The Evolution of Christian Science in Scholarly Perspective, Observatory of Religion and Secularism, Antwerp, Belgium (April 2015)
  • “Coptic Religious Identity and Borderless Territoriality in the Electronic Diaspora,” with Dr. Saad Michael Saad, Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Diego, CA (November 2014)
  • “A ‘People’s History’ of the Church of Scientology: Conclusions from Ethnographic Research in the United States,” Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion, San Diego, CA (November 2014)
  • “Scientology, Resilience, and the Category of Religion: Conclusions from Research in the United States,” British Sociological Association, Sociology of Religion Study Group, University of Sussex, UK (July 2014)
  • “From American to World Religion: L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology’s Roots in the American West,” International Conference of Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), Baylor University, Waco, TX (June 2014)
  • “Invitation to Future Research on the Church of Scientology,” INFORM Anniversary Conference on Minority Religions: Contemplating the Past and Anticipating the Future, London School of Economics (February 2014)
  • “Invitation to Future Research on the Church of Scientology,” First International Conference on the Study of Scientology, FVG (January 2014)

Memberships

  • International Society for the Study of New Religions
  • American Academy of Religion
  • American Historical Association
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
  • St. Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society
  • Institute for Signifying Scriptures

    Full CV available upon request

[Revised 2 March 2016]