My vocation as an educator, scholar, and writer has been forged through experiences both in and beyond the classroom. After becoming enamored with Aristotle, James Joyce, and Clifford Geertz during college I lived in Sumatra for two years where my notions about the character and forms of truth were forever changed. I then continued my study of religion, philosophy, and ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School (MA 1999). My PhD in Religious Studies is from Stanford University (2006) where I studied modern and comparative religious thought. Along the way I parted ways with Aristotle and spent a lot of time with Plato, Dante, Freud, William James, Zhuangzi, and all manner of poetry.
While in Sumatra I taught at a small, rural Islamic college that trained high school teachers for public schools. After graduate school I taught in Stanford's first-year humanities core (2006-2009) in its comparative religious literature track. In 2009 I moved to Deep Springs College where I was the humanities professor for five years. My devotion to primary text-based classes within a creative, wholeperson approach with life stakes was kindled during my time at Deep Springs. I have developed this approach further at The Arete Project, a summer program for college-age women built on the Deep Springs model of education.
The shape, tone, and character of my intellectual commitments can be seen in classes with me, as well as through my writing. My book Ordinary Oblivion and the Self Unmoored: Reading Plato's Phaedrus and Writing the Soul was published by Fordham University Press in 2014. My writing on Euripides and Zhuangzi has appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and my essay on the ethical significance of forgetting can be found in the Journal of Religious Ethics. (Please note publications appear under Jennifer Rapp.)
Currently I am writing a book about the sacred, finishing a collection of personal essays about gender and strength, and enjoying getting to know the terrain of eastern Washington.