Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Old Main, 102
Telephone: 651-696-6152

Erik Davis studies and teaches about Buddhism, Asian religions, and the theory of religion. He is particularly interested in funerals, ritual, and the connection between agriculture and religious imagination. His dissertation, "Treasures of the Buddha: Imagining Death and Life in Contemporary Cambodia," was completed at the University of Chicago in 2009.

His most recent publications are:
“Khmer spirits, Chinese bodies: Chinese spirit mediums and spirit possession rituals in contemporary Cambodia.” In Faith in the future: Understanding the Revitalization of Religions and Cultural Traditions in Asia, Thomas A. Reuter and Alexander Horstmann, eds. Brill Press. 2012.

“Weaving life out of death: the craft of the rag robe in Cambodian funerary ritual.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, Paul Williams and Patrice Ladwig, eds. Cambridge University Press. 2012.

“Imagined parasites: flows of monies and spirits in Cambodia.” In Cambodia’s Economic Transformation, Caroline Hughes and Kheang Un, eds. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Press. 2011.

“Between forests and families: death, desire, and order in Cambodia.” In People of Virtue: Reconfiguring Religion, Power, and Moral Order in Today’s Cambodia. Alexandra Kent and David P. Chandler, eds. (NIAS Studies in Asian Topics). University of Hawai’i Press. 2008.

“Imaginary conversations with mothers about death.” in At the edge of the forest: essays in honor of David Chandler. Anne R. Hansen and Judy Ledgerwood, eds. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 2008.

Erik is a Macalester Alumnus ('96), and received his masters degree at the University of Washington in Seattle (2006). He lived in Cambodia from 2003-2006. 

Office Hours are done entirely by appointment. Normal office hours are held on Mondays from 1:00 - 3:30. Point your browser at in order to claim one of these slots. If this time doesn’t work for you because of class or work conflicts, email me to arrange a different time (please suggest several options).