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Paul Cassell

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Lecturer
Faculty, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 0604
Lecturer
Faculty, DTPHX Campus, Mailcode 0604
Biography: 

Paul Cassell is lecturer with the Leadership and Interdisciplinary Studies faculty group in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University. He is trained in the historical and theoretical interaction of science, philosophy, and religion. His research applies emergence theory - which investigates complex, intelligent, and adaptive processes like living things and human minds - to the study of religion.

He is author of "Religion, Emergence, and the Origins of Meaning" (Brill, 2015). Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow in science and religion at the Center for Jewish Studies at Arizona State University, and a lecturer at Barrett, the Honors College at ASU.

Education: 
  • Ph.D. Religious Studies (Science, Philosophy, and Religion), Boston University. Dissertation: A Semiotic and Emergent Theory of Religious Communities. Supervisor: Wesley Wildman
  • M.Ed. Secondary Social Studies Education, University of Virginia.
  • B.A. Echols Scholar; minors: Mathematics and Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Research Interests: 

In addition to applying emergence theory to the study of religion, Cassell's current research explores the evolutionary, biological, and cultural roots of religion in human prehistory.

Research Group: 

Dr. Cassell is a Core Faculty member of the ASU Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity, which investigates social dynamics across diverse contexts, ranging from genomes to entire organisms, and from individuals to cultures.

He also participates in the Emergence@ASU research group, sponsored by Beyond: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, which addresses foundational questions regarding the origins and nature of life.

Dr. Cassell is affiliated faculty with the Center for Jewish Studies.

Publications: 

His book Religion, Emergence, and the Origins of Meaning (Brill, 2015) uses systems theory to identify universal religious community dynamics.  He argues that religious ritual can facilitate powerful psychological experiences concerning unseen divine agencies, as well as social dynamics that are adaptive and long-lived. Further, ritual links these together in a mutually-reinforcing set. It is addressed to anyone interested in theory of religion, the scientific study of religion, ritual theory, religious experience, and the sociological study of religion, as well as those interested in emergence and complex systems theory.

Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
IDS 301Becoming Interdisciplinary
IDS 302Integration Skills
LST 370Dimensions of Liberal Studies
Summer 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
IDS 301Becoming Interdisciplinary
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
IDS 301Becoming Interdisciplinary
LST 370Dimensions of Liberal Studies
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
IDS 302Integration Skills
LST 370Dimensions of Liberal Studies
Summer 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
BIS 301Found of Interdisc Studies
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
LST 370Dimensions of Liberal Studies
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
BIS 301Found of Interdisc Studies
BIS 302Interdisciplinary Inquiry
BIS 370Dimensions of Liberal Studies
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
BIS 301Found of Interdisc Studies
BIS 370Dimensions of Liberal Studies
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
BIS 301Found of Interdisc Studies
BIS 370Dimensions of Liberal Studies
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
HON 272The Human Event
Industry Positions: 

Dr. Cassell was a Series 7-licensed stockbroker with the Vanguard Investment Group in Scottsdale, AZ.