Leah Mernaugh

Leah Mernaugh
Program

PhD student

Supervisor

Daromir Rudnyckyj

Themes

Space, place, knowledge and power

I am a doctoral student in cultural anthropology under the supervision of Dr. Daromir Rudnyckyj. My broader interest is the anthropology of religion with a specific focus on the intersections and tensions between Christianity and New Age spirituality.

After graduating with a BA in Linguistics and Cultural Studies from Seattle Pacific University, I completed my MSc in Social and Cultural anthropology from the University of Leuven in Belgium. My thesis explored how evangelical Christian yoga enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest transform the practice to reflect Christian notions of the body, circumvent spiritual concerns, and manage its perceived connections with Hinduism. As a participant-observer in the yoga world, I also learned how to touch my toes for the first time.

My doctoral work will further explore the entanglement between North American evangelicals and New Age spiritualities through an economic lens. I hope to better understand how evangelical Christians in the Pacific Northwest discern their participation not only in particular “spiritual” practices, but also as consumers in certain sub-cultural economies often associated with the New Age. What better field site than Vancouver Island and the “secular but spiritual” Pacific Northwest?