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Philip P. Arnold

Associate Professor of Religion

Research and Teaching Interests

Professor Arnold specializes in Native American traditions of the Americas with special emphasis on contact between Europeans and pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations and Iroquois traditions. His work in Nahuatl texts and archaeological materials from central Mexico has focused on connections between indigenous rituals and their material world. His articles have included topics on the ritual symbolism of food, cultural contact in the development of religion in the Americas, and "book culture" in Native communities. Currently, his work highlights the local history and religious landscape of the Erie Canal and of New York State, utilizing the issues and insights of Haudenosaunee (i.e., Longhouse, or Traditional Iroquois).


REL 101 Religions of the World
REL 103 Religion and Sports
REL 142 Native American Religions
REL 244 Indigenous Religions
REL 347 Religion and the Conquest of America
REL 348 Religion and American Consumerism
REL 400/600 Discovery & Indigenous Peoples
REL 449 Religious Dimensions of Whiteness
REL 642/ANT 691 Critical Issues in the Study of Native Americans
REL 693 Materiality of Religion


  • Ph.D., History of Religions, University of Chicago Divinity School (1992)
  • M.A., Institute of Archaeology/Latin American Studies, University of London (1986)
  • B.A., Religious Studies, University of Colorado-Boulder (1985, magna cum laude)


  • Associate Professor, History of Religions/American Religions, 1999-present.
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Religion, Syracuse University, 1999-2002.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, Syracuse University, 1996-1999.
  • Assistant Professor, Indigenous Religions, Department of Religious Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia (and adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology), 1992-1995.
  • Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1990-1992.
  • Part-time Faculty in Religion at Illinois Benedictine College, 1989.


Sacred Landscapes
Sacred Landscapes and Cultural Politics: Planting a Tree
(co-edited with Ann Grodzins Gold). Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2001.
Eating Landscapes
Eating Landscape: Aztec and European Occupation of Tlalocan
University Press of Colorado, 1999.

Book Chapters

Journal Articles

  • "What are Indigenous Religions? Lessons from Onondaga." AJOL: Journal for the Study of Religion, Special Issue: Religion and the Imagination of Matter , 16 (2) November : 33-50. 2003.
  • "Determining the Place of Religion: Native American Traditions and the World Wide Web." Religion (32, 2002).
  • "Dismantling Academic Freedom," in the electronical journal Sightings (26 April 2002). Full and extended versions in Indian Time: A Voice from the Eastern Door, (20:12, 2002); on the AIM website; and in the electronic journal We Have Many Voices (2:5, March 2002).
  • "Diversity in the History of Religions," in the electronic journal Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory (2:2, 2001).
  • "The Religious Dimensions of Food: An Introduction" and "Eating and Giving Food: The Material Necessity of Interpretation in Thai Buddhism," in Journal of Ritual Studies (14:1, 2000).
  • "Black Elk and book culture," in Journal of the American Academy of Religion (67:1, 1999).
  • "Paper ties to land: indigenous and colonial material orientations to the Valley of Mexico," in History of Religions (35:1, 1995).
  • "The meaning of the History of Religions: Lawrence E. Sullivan talks about Icanchu's Drum." Criterion (Alumni Journal for the University of Chicago Divinity School. 28:1, 1989).
  • "Conversations with Anthony Aveni: Archaeoastronomy and the History of Religion," Co-edited by Davíd Carrasco, Philip P. Arnold, Lawrence Desmond, and Rebecca Herr. Boulder, CO: Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project Working papers (No. 1, 1985).

Encyclopedia Entries and Reviews

  • "Oren Lyons" and "Haudenosaunee Confederacy." Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature . Edited by Jeffery Kaplan and Bron Taylor. London: Continuum. 2005.
  • "Colors," "Cosmic Trees," "Fertility," "Rain Deities," and "Rites of Passage." Mesoamerican Cultures: The Civilizations of Mexico and Central America, 3 Vols. Editor in Chief Davíd Carrasco. Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • "History of Religions." Encyclopedia of Postmodernism. Edited by Victor E. Taylor and Charles E. Winquist. Routledge, 2001.
  • "American Indian Religions, South." Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Pergamon Press and Aberdeen University Press, 1994.
  • Book reviews for Archaeoastronomy, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Journal of Religion, Religious Studies Review, and Disciples Divinity House Bulletin.

Non-academic Publications

  • Editorial on Indian Mascots in Central New York. In Indian Time: A Voice from the Eastern Door (19:21, 2001).
  • "The Meaning of Land," in Neighbor to Neighbor, Nation to Nation: Reading about the Relationship of the Onondaga Nation with Central New York, USA. Published by Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, December 2000.
  • Letter to the editor on the religious dimensions of home and real estate in Iroquois land-claim cases. Inter-Religious Council Newsletter (11:5, 2000).
  • "Culture Crash." Letter to the editor of Syracuse New Times. 1-8 December, 1999.
  • "Native issues need George's 'leveling' voice." Opinion Page of Syracuse Herald American, Sunday, 14 Nov., 1999.
  • "Native Traditions and New World Religions." Peace Newsletter (Syracuse Peace Council), March 1999.
  • "Sacred Places in the History of Religions: Contextualizing the Onondaga Sacred Landscape." Affidavit for a petition by the Onondaga nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy to halt gravel mining at Tully Lakes. 29 December, 1998.