Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Faculty Experts

Laura Hobgood

Professor of Religion


Areas of expertise

Animals in the history of the Christian tradition; human-dog history; contemporary religious-ethical issues related to other-than-human animals; religion and ecology; environmental studies; Ecofeminism; human-animal studies.


Dr. Hobgood-Oster is co-chair of the Environmental Studies program and has chaired the Religion program as well. She holds the Elizabeth Root Paden Chair in Religion and Environmental Studies and is a frequently invited lecturer. This year, Dr. Hobgood-Oster coordinated "Back to the Foodture: Sustainable Strategies to Reverse a Global Crisis," the 34th Annual Brown Symposium at Southwestern University.



PhD,St. Louis University 1997
M.Div.,Vanderbilt University 1989
B.A.,James Madison University 1985


Environmental Studies Program
December 31, 1969 - present
Dr. Hobgood has served as Chair of the Environmental Studies program and the Religion and Philosophy Department. She has also served on the University's Faculty Status Committee, the Faculty Governance Task Force, the Faculty Affairs Council and the Curriculum Committee.


Dr. Hobgood-Oster specializes in the history of animals in the Christian Tradition. She helped found and then co-chaired the Animals and Religion Consultation of the American Academy of Religion (2002-2008). Her overall areas of research include animals in religious traditions and in the history and theology of Christianity; animals in contemporary religious-ethical systems; religion and ecology; environmental studies; ecofeminism, and women in the Christian tradition.

Her most recent publication is The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity's Compassion for Animals (Baylor University Press, 2010). She also wrote Holy Dogs and Asses: Animals in the Christian Tradition (University of Illinois Press, 2008). Dr. Hobgood-Oster's next book, A Dog's History of the World, will be available in 2013.


The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity's Compassion for Animals, Baylor University Press, forthcoming 2010.

Holy Dogs and Asses: Animals in the Christian Tradition, University of Illinois Press, 2008.

Executive editor, Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature; also entries in this Encyclopedia including "Ecofeminism: Historic and International Developments"

Editor and Introduction, The Sabbath Journal of Judith Lomax, Oxford University Press, AAR Texts and Translations Series

Seminars & Presentations

Dr. Hobgood-Oster has been an invited lecturer at Yale University, Middlebury College, St. Edward's University, Drew University, the Vatican Museums and Lees-McRae College. She has upcoming lectures scheduled at the National Cathedral (October 2012) and the University of Florida (November 2012).

Honors & Awards

Individual Research Grant, American Academy of Religion

Mundy Service Award, Southwestern University

Appointed to Paden Brown Chair in Religion and Environmental Studies, Southwestern University

William Carrington Finch Award, Southwestern University, 2008

Sam Taylor Fellowship

Specific subjects or issues you can knowledgeably discuss:
animals and religion (and ethical issues related to this topic)

I am willing to talk to the media: yes

I am willing to talk to community groups about my area of expertise: no

Can you do interviews in Spanish? no

Other languages you are fluent in:

Experience with the news media (especially electronic media):

Contact Details:
(512) 863-1669(office)
Office: Kyle E. White 105