Della Campion


Position Title
Graduate Student in the Study of Religion
Teaching Assistant in Religious Studies

910 Sproul


I am a second year PhD student studying small religious groups in the U.S. in the 19th and 20th centuries. There are two major questions that continue to drive my inquiry:  Who gets the power, and, how is that legitimized? Currently, I am working on the mid-19th Century American Perfectionist Protestant commune, the Oneida Community. Regarding issues of gender, agency, and sexual expectation for women in the radically progressive group, was there true equality for the sexes, or simply a diluted inequality? Specifically: was women’s selfhood the price paid for an idealized patriarchal illusion of common good?  Also in the locus of Oneida, I am investigating the seemingly benign, yet authoritative leadership of the Oneida Community’s self-styled and magnetic “prophet”, John Humphrey Noyes.


Primary Research Interests:

  • Religion in North America in the 19th and 20th Centuries
  • New Religious Movements
  • Power and Authority
  • Charismatic Leadership
  • Religion, Politics, and Violence
  • Storytelling and Myth-making
  • Rhetoric, Truth Claims, and Image Maintenance
  • Legitimation and Interdiction


Secondary Research Interests:

  • Religion and Magic in Roman Antiquity
  • Heterodox Cosmologies
  • Religion and Esotericism
  • Religion and Healing in America
  • Religion and Science Fiction


Current Research Topics:

  • The Oneida Community (sexual practices, leadership, women’s parity, and power dynamics)
  • Frank Herbert’s Dune (religion, politics, power, and mythmaking)


Recent Conference Presentations:

Mar 2019:  ”Sex, Religion, and Utopia: Women’s Parity at Oneida” at the American Academy of Religion ,Western Region conference, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Feb 2019: “Desert Power, Occult Power, Mind Power: Paul Atredies’ Strategies of Ascent in Frank Herbert’s Dune”at the Southwest Popular American Culture Association 40th anniversary conference, Albuquerque, NM



  • MA, International Studies, Comparative Religion (Religion and Culture major, Christianity minor) Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • BA, Interdisciplinary Studies (emphases in Psychology, English, and Anthropology, Photography minor) Southern Oregon University, Ashland, OR