Paula Pryce

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Paula Pryce

Paula Pryce 2015

Graduated May 2015

Paula Pryce’s doctoral dissertation will be published by Oxford University Press in 2017 under the title, The Monk’s Cell: Ritual and Knowledge in American Contemplative Christianity.

Paula’s research on a global contemplative Christian religious movement investigated the relationship between large socioeconomic forces and intimate relationships in both geographic and virtual environments. Her long-term ethnographic research among semi-cloistered American Christian monks and the “non-gathered” networks of non-monastic Christian contemplatives found that religious practitioners in both settings combined social action and intentional living with demanding intellectual study and ritualization techniques in an effort to modify their ways of knowing, sensing, and experiencing the world. Through this work Paula has explored the interplay of social diversity and cohesiveness in pluralistic society and the relationship of agency and habitus in contemplative practitioners’ conscious attempts to gain spiritual transformation, including the cultivation of intensive phenomenological experiences of communion despite their geographic scattering. Crossing multiple boundaries and living quite comfortably as religious practitioners in the “modernity” of their pluralistic worlds, this high-agency, disciplined, often interreligious community of mostly well-educated upper-middle-class professionals is the very demographic that secularization theorists have expected to reject religion.

Paula currently holds a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. Her current research extends this initial work on the relationship of pluralism and ritualized living by investigating how contemplative Christians respond to violence, terrorism, and the influx of Islamic refugees into Europe.


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • Finalist, Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
  • Dissertation Writing Fellowship, The Louisville Institute
  • Doctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • Presidential Fellowship, Boston University
  • Grant for Professional Writers, Canada Council for the Arts
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarships, University of Toronto


  • The Monk’s Cell: Ritual and Knowledge in American Contemplative Christianity. New York: Oxford University Press. (Forthcoming 2017).
  • “‘Unitive Being’ in the Face of Atrocity: Contemplative Christian Responses to Terrorism.” Paper in volume of conference proceedings. Encountering Religious Others Conference. Vancouver School of Theology. Publisher under negotiation. (Forthcoming 2017).
  • The Porous Cell: Monastic Ritual, Intentional Living, and Varieties of Knowledge in American Contemplative Christianity. Doctoral Dissertation. Department of Anthropology, Boston University.
  • “Keeping the Lakes’ Way”: Reburial and the Re-creation of a Moral World among an Invisible People. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. (First published monograph on the Sinixt Interior Salish/Lakes people).
  • “The Manipulation of Culture and History: a Critique of Two Expert Witnesses.” Native Studies Review. 8(1): 35-46.