Dr. Jeanne Matthews Sommer

Dr. Jeanne Matthews Sommer became a Pluralism Project affiliate in 1998 while teaching religion at Warren Wilson College. She created and led “Asheville’s Spiritual Odyssey,” a year-long, student centered research project.

As part of the project, Dr. Matthews Sommer taught two special topics courses in the fall and spring semesters, entitled “World Religions in Asheville,” with 9-15 students in each course. The course included in-class discussion of various components of a religion, discussion and reading about the nature of religion and how to study it as an academic pursuit, the meaning of pluralism and the particular challenges that religious practitioners face in America. A highlight of each course was a series of 4-5 roundtable lectures which the class sponsored, featuring area Religious Leaders who talked about their faith and the challenges they face in the Asheville area. Students were in charge of the roundtable agenda for each evening and served on a panel of respondents for each guest. These Roundtables occurred on Tuesday evenings and were advertised on campus and in the larger Asheville area.

Selected Links and Publications