Published: Feb. 12, 2014

Faculty conversations: David Stowe

By: Annie McGraw Media Communications annie.mcgraw@cabs.msu.eduContact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709

How many people can say that during their career they’ve switched departments and taught in Japan, all while being a father? David Stowe, professor of English and religious studies, can.

David Stowe’s career started out about 20 years ago, when he moved to MSU for his first job in the Department of American Thought and Language, which eventually evolved into the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures. Then, following his interest in American culture, literature and religion, he switched into the Department of English.

Stowe’s graduate work was focused on history and music. However, while studying these topics, he picked up knowledge and a love for literature. He began to become interested in religion through music as well.

“I ended up teaching a course about sacred music in America,” Stowe said. “That got me interested in religion, because to understand the music, you have to know quite a bit about the religion. By studying American religious music, I was able to trace those religions back to the parts of the world where they originated from.”

Learning and teaching in different parts of the world is also in Stowe’s expertise.

“I had the opportunity to teach in Japan for three years when I started at MSU,” he said. “I had young children at that age, so I was able to go and teach at a Japanese university. Originally it was going to be for one year, but I extended it for as long as MSU would let me, which eventually was three years. That’s sort of unheard of.”

Teaching in different departments, different countries and ending up finding a love of religion in something like music makes Stowe’s career at MSU anything but ordinary. However, Stowe, with a passionate love for the green and white, says he wouldn’t want things any other way.

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David Stowe, professor of English and religious studies. Photo by G.L. Kohuth

David Stowe, professor of English and religious studies. Photo by G.L. Kohuth

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