Dr. Ross Enochs

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies


I grew up in Westchester County, New York and lived there until I went to college at Colgate University. After graduating, I went to graduate school where I studied religion at the University of Virginia. Then, I taught as an adjunct faculty member at Marian College of Fond-du-Lac Wisconsin, Boston College, and Merrimack College.Interests: My introduction to the study of religion began as an undergraduate at Colgate University where I majored in religion under Christopher Vecsey, Ph. D., who introduced me to the study of Native American religions and the field of comparative religion. At the University of Virginia, I studied American religious history and, more specifically, American Catholic history. In my dissertation, I was able to combine my interest in Native American religion with my knowledge of Catholic history by studying the Catholic missions to the Native Americans, and this remains my major field of interest today. I have always been fascinated with the meeting of different cultures and the results from these meetings. I have studied the process of conversion and the missionaries' mission methods, the techniques that they use to evangelize people from different cultures. This process involved understanding the cultures of those whom they evangelized. Actually some of the best early anthropological observations we have of China, the Philippines, India, Japan, New France and the Americas come from Catholic missionaries who learned the indigenous languages and lived with the people for their entire lives. Since they relied on the charity of those who housed them, fed them and allowed them to stay in their countries, the missionaries often came to have a fondness for the people they evangelized and even came to identify with them. Contrary to what many write about the missionaries, the people in the missions often had a high regard for the missionaries. In the missions, the priests and nuns were influenced by their experiences and adapted in many ways to the cultures that they encountered. Of course there were different groups of Catholic missionaries; the Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits all had very distinct and sometimes conflicting mission methods. Some adapted to some extent to the indigenous cultures and religions, and others resisted any adaptation. My research has been an investigation into the relationships that different Catholic missionaries established with the people they evangelized and the attitudes they exhibited toward the indigenous cultures and religions.


Selected Publications

Ross Enochs

Contact Information

Academic School

School of Liberal Arts


Fontaine 205




(845) 575-3000 ext. 2949