Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religions, writer, appreciator of the endemic strangeness of the human condition
NORMAN GIRARDOT taught at Notre Dame University and Oberlin College before going to Lehigh University where he is now the University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion. His research areas and publications involve Chinese religious tradition, particularly Daoism; the intellectual history of the study of China/Chinese religion; the history of the comparative study of religion; and the relation of religion and outsider/vernacular/visionary art. His current research, writing, and curatorial efforts largely concern outsider artistic and visionary tradition, especially as seen in the work of artists like Howard Finster, Mr. Imagination, Myrtice West, Norbert Kox, Aloise Corbaz,Charlie Lucas, Lonnie Holley, and others. His most recent book is an interpretive book-length study of the incredibly prolific Southern Baptist preacher, Christian shaman, maverick outsider, quasi-Western Daoist, and visionary artist, Howard Finster (1916-2001). This work is entitled Envisioning Howard Finster: The Religion and Art of a Stranger from Another World (University of California Press, 2015). He is currently working on a project about Gregory Warmack (1948-2012), better known as Mr. Imagination. Finally, it has sometimes been noted that, in addition to fried okra and shrimp and grits, he has a seemingly perverse fondness for calabash gourds and dry mead.