Dr. Laursen teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses, as well as offers public education, such as talks to organizations and institutions. Please contact him if you are interested in having him teach or speak, or if you have any questions about the below courses.
Dr. Laursen is an instructor at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington (UNCW), based in the Departments of History (HST), Philosophy & Religion (PAR), and Graduate Liberal Studies (GLS). Please contact him for any information on upcoming and current courses.
Upcoming Courses at UNCW
(Spring 2018, January through April)
Click here to register now:
HST 329 (001): Issues in Modern Science: The Supernatural, Religion, and Science (Tues 18:30-21:15 + Online)
*Note: Listed online as “Religion, Race, and Politics”
A new course!
This spring, study the history of the supernatural in modern America, from 1800 to 2000!
From the Civil War to the swinging Sixties… learn about Americans’ encounters with spirits of the dead, UFOs, and highly strange beings like Mothman, skinwalkers, ghostly airline pilots, and a glowing raccoon that talks.
In 1858, Mark Twain dreamt of his brother Henry’s funeral… weeks before Henry died suddenly after a steamship explosion. How was nineteenth-century technology, like telegraphy, key to Twain understanding what happened?
In the 1970s, American and Soviet scientists employed psychics to spy on each other… while American children bent spoons and forks with “their minds” in their living rooms. Did Flower Power intensify Americans’ power of mind over matter?
Yes… this is history! The supernatural says a lot about who we are as Americans. It reveals “grey areas” where religion and science, culture and consciousness intermingle.
There’s a deeper question to answer here: Why have modern Americans reveled in the weird and the fantastical… while at the same time fearing it, and marginalizing it?
This January, be part of a vibrant community of historians and scholars studying the supernatural.
Six in-class sessions blended with online learning and discussions. Guest speakers.
Assignments that get you into the heart of the paranormal America.
(Summer 2018, May through July)
PAR 103: Introduction to Religions (Summer 1, May/June, Online)
GLS 592: First Contact: Narratives of Encounters with the Unexpected (Summer 2, June/July Online)
HST 206: History of Science II: Modern Science (Summer 2, June/July, Online)
Past courses at UNCW
(Fall 2017, August through December)
Since 2008, Dr. Laursen has taught diverse students from humanities and science disciplines, undergraduate and graduate, in-person and online.
He specializes in teaching modern history of religions, history of science, and environmental history courses, as well as early modern and modern global history, and the United States, Britain, and Europe in the modern period.
Christopher bridges his scholarly research with public education. He offers talks, seminars, workshops, and courses on these topics, providing historical contexts, case studies, and exercises that enable participants to gain a view of their personal life experiences in relation to world religions, the sciences, and the natural world. Details on public education projects will be posted here as they become available.
The following student testimonials attest to recent students’ overall satisfaction and intellectual enrichment from Dr. Laursen’s classes. The comments are from anonymous surveys of the students conducted at universities in which he taught (original copies available).
“Great professor. Very accessible via email, considerate, and encouraging.”
Dr. Laursen “showed caring for each student through personal e-mails and offered to help in all possible ways. Emails were replied to within the day usually and all the feedback given was useful.”
Dr. Laursen “was very good about trying to form a connection with the students even though this was an online course…. It was very nice to participate in that kind of environment and I think my online participation helped with my learning.”
Dr. Laursen “was very diligent when reading the comments on our discussion board and furthered the conversation with his thought provoking analysis. He also did an extremely thorough job when reading our papers, giving incredibly helpful feedback.”
Dr. Laursen “has been extremely helpful and warm towards us, he is very responsive and reasonable.”
Dr. Laursen “was very helpful throughout the course. He responded to e-mails very quickly and showed genuine concern for student learning…. He was very knowledgeable about the subject matter and his attitude towards the students inspired learning and discussion.”
Dr. Laursen “was one of the most open profs I’ve had. He genuinely cared about our learning…. He went above and beyond for me…. Christopher reminded me that there are good profs out there that will be there for you and encourage learning. It was a breath of fresh air for sure! He made us care about the course and I think we all took something away from it.”
“I really like the essay markups… because he provided constructive feedback and methods to improve our writing.”
Dr. Laursen “was very empathetic and responded with exactly what I needed every time.”
Dr. Laursen “gave me the opportunity and the tools to improve my work, which I am very grateful for.”
“I learned a lot and am now reaping the benefits of better quality papers!”