Social Science and Religion Network-People

Affiliated Faculty

AFRICAN STUDIES

Tim Longman | longman@bu.edu
Director of the African Studies Center and is Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science. Prior to arriving at BU, he taught for twelve years at Vassar College.

ANTHROPOLOGY

Kimberly Arkin | karkin@bu.edu
Assistant Professor of Anthropology.  Her work concerns the articulation of citizenship and religion among North African Jewish youth in Paris.

Robert W. Hefner | rhefner@bu.edu
Professor of Anthropology, Associate Director of CURA, where he directs the program on Islam and civil society. Hefner has carried out research on religion and politics in Southeast Asia for the past twenty-eight years, and has conducted comparative research on Muslim culture and politics since the late-1980s.

Shahla Haerishaeri@bu.edu
Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Boston University. She has conducted research in Iran, Pakistan, and India, and has written extensively on religion, law, and gender dynamics in the Muslim world.

Nancy Smith-Hefnersmhefner@bu.edu
Associate Professor of Anthropology. She has done research on Buddhism and cultural adaptation among Khmer in the United States, and since the late 1990s she has been working on questions of marriage, sexuality, and romance among Muslim youth in Indonesia.

Charles Lindholm | ldhm@bu.edu
Professor in the Department of Anthropology. His work includes books on charisma and on the Islamic Middle East, as well as long-term research on idealization and culture.

Robert P. Weller | rpweller@bu.edu
Professor of Anthropology and Research Associate at CURA. He has concentrated on China in comparative perspective, ranging from a critical examination of the role of culture in East Asian business to the latest changes in Chinese religion.

Jenny White | jbwhite@bu.edu
Professor of Anthropology. Author of a prize-winning recent book on Muslim politics in Turkey, she combines that work with on-going interests in women and family life in Islam.

DIVISION OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

Houchang E. Chehabi | chehabi@bu.edu 
Professor of International Relations and History. His research includes Iran,  Middle Eastern politics and cultural history, Turko-Persia, Islam, and transnational Shi’ism.

Jeremy Menchik | menchik@bu.edu
Assistant Professor of International Relations. Dr. Menchik’s dissertation, “Tolerance Without Liberalism: Islamic Institutions and Political Violence in Twentieth Century Indonesia” recently received an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Aaron Wildavsky Award for the best dissertation on religion and politics.

Augustus Norton | arn@bu.edu
Professor of International Relations and Anthropology. His recent research has taken up the question of civil society in the Middle East and renewal in reformist Muslim thought.

HISTORY

Betty Anderson banderso@bu.edu
Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies & Civilizations. She is interested in the History of the Middle East, social and intellectual history of the Arab world, history of education, and modern world history.

Barbara Diefendorfbdiefend@bu.edu
Her work includes the social, political, and cultural history of early modern Europe, particularly sixteenth- and seventeenth-century French history, urban history, history of the family, and women and gender. Her current research is on the culture and politics of the Catholic Reformation in France.

Phillip Haberkern |  phaberke@bu.edu
His research focuses on the history of late medieval and early modern Christianity, with particular attention to the Bohemian and German reformations and the development of dissident and heretical religious movements.

Jon H. Roberts | roberts1@bu.edu
Professor of History. An American intellectual historian, he has special interests in the history of Anglo-American religious thought and the relationship between science and religion. Among his current projects is a book dealing with the efforts of mainstream American Protestant intellectuals during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries to defend the privileged status of mind–divine and human–in the face of a series of challenges from forces associated with “modernity.”

Jeffrey Rubin |  jwr@bu.edu
Associate Professor of History and Research Associate at CURA. His research on Latin America focuses on the historical, cultural, and religious origins of grassroots activism and the ways in which social movements contribute to the deepening of democracy by establishing forms of voice and autonomy in “non-political” locations. He currently heads a workshop project, “Religion, Social Movements, and Progressive Reform in the Americas,” bringing together scholars of social movements and scholars of religion in Latin America and the US.

MEDICINE

Linda Barnes | lbarnes@bu.edu
Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Family Medicine, School of Medicine, and Director, Boston Healing Landscape Project. This project uses Boston as a laboratory for documenting the growing religious diversity of the United States and the corresponding emergence of a richly textured world of culturally and religiously grounded complementary and alternative medicine.

Lance Laird | lance.laird@bmc.org
Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Assistant Director of the Masters Program in Medical Anthropology and Cross-Cultural Practice and a senior consultant to the Boston Healing Landscape Project. His interests and work focus on Muslim cultural pluralism in the U.S., and related implications of Muslim understandings of illness, healing, medicine, and complementary therapies. He is also conducting research on the roles of congregations in public health.

RELIGION

Kecia Ali | ka@bu.edu
Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies. She teaches classes that explore the diversity and complexity of Islamic expression and experience in both classical and modern periods. Her research interests center on Islamic religious texts, especially jurisprudence, and women in both classical and contemporary Muslim discourses. She is the author of Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence (2006) In addition to her current book in progress – Marriage, Gender, and Ownership in Early Islamic Jurisprudence – she is also working on a biography of the jurist al-Shafi’i.

Frank J. Korom korom@bu.edu
Professor of Religion and Anthropology. His research and teaching interests range from South Asian contemporary religion to diaspora studies and transnationalism, all of which comes together in his work on East Indians in the Caribbean and the global community of Tibetan refugees.

Hillel Levine | hlevine@bu.edu
Professor of Sociology and Religion. His interests include Holocaust studies and American Jewish history and sociology.

Anthony Petro apetro@bu.edu
Assistant Professor of Religion. Petro is a historian of modern Christianity, focusing on religion, gender, and sexuality in the United States. He is currently working on a book called After the Wrath of God: AIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion.

Stephen Protheroprothero@bu.edu
Professor of Religion. A historian of American religion, Professor Prothero specializes in Asian religious traditions in the United States.

Dana Robertdrobdan@bu.edu
Truman Collins Professor of World Mission and Co-Director of the Center for Global Christianity and Mission. Having written the definitive history of women in the international mission movement, she continues to work in mission history and the history of world Christianity, especially on the many expressions of Christianity in southern Africa..

Steven J. Sandage  | ssandage@bu.edu
Albert and Jessie Danielsen Professor of Pastoral Psychology and Theology.  He has authored articles and chapters in areas such as forgiveness and related virtues (e.g., hope, humility, gratitude, and justice), spiritual development, marriage and family therapy, relational development (e.g., attachment, differentiation of self), narcissism, intercultural competence, and suicidology.

Adam Seligmanseligman@bu.edu
Professor of Religion and Research Associate at CURA. He has made important contributions to thinking about the role of religion in the modern world and is currently working on the problem of religion and toleration. Part of this work is devoted to establishing school curricula for teaching tolerance from a religious perspective. In this endeavor he is working with colleagues in Berlin, Sarajevo and Jerusalem.

SOCIOLOGY

Nancy T. Ammerman | nta@bu.edu
Professor of Sociology of Religion, School of Theology and Department of Sociology and Research Associate at CURA. She has written extensively on fundamentalism and on American religious organizations. Her most recent research concerns the formation of religious identities in an everyday world shaped by both secular and religious narratives.

Emily Barman | eabarman@bu.edu
Associate Professor of Sociology. Her research examines the changing nature of the nonprofit sector and includes attention to the sociology of religious bureaucracies.

Ellen Childs | echilds@bu.edu
Research Asst. Prof in the Center for Practical Theology and Director, Congregational Studies Website project. Her research interests include organizational and congregational stagnation and decline in mainline congregations; the information aids pastoral and congregational leaders in analyzing and better serving their congregations and communities.

Sadia Saeedsadias@bu.edu
Her interests are in religion, law, and politics in Pakistan.

David Swartz | dswartz@bu.edu
Assistant Professor of Sociology. A renowned expert on the theories of Pierre Bourdieu, his research also includes work on non-profit organizations and on intellectuals and politics.

Current Doctoral Students

Amani Abu-Shakra | Anthropology |  amani@bu.edu
Her research focuses on identity reconstruction and accommodation issues among Arab Muslim Americans in the Greater Boston area.

Mehrdad Babadi | Anthropology | babadi@bu.edu

Benae Beamon | Graduate Division of Religious Studies | babb@bu.edu
Her focus is black queer ethics, folding Black Church ethnography and philosophical hermeneutics into sexual ethics discourse.

Michel Chambon | Anthropology | chambonm@bu.edu
Chambon is a Catholic Theologian with a Master in Theology from Paris (Roman Canonical License in Theology). He is researching the hybridization of Christianity and Chinese culture. He spent 3 years in the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, and 2 years in Taipei.

Amina Chaudary | Graduate Division of Religious Studies | arc2125@bu.edu
She is focusing on the identity of American Muslims as hyphenated individuals and is exploring the American religious landscape over the past few decades as it intersects with Islam.

Elizabeth Crocker | Anthropology |  lcrocker@bu.edu
Her research focuses on the practice of Vodou among Haitian immigrants in America.

Calynn Dowler | Anthropology |  cdowler@bu.edu
Her interests include transnational migration and diaspora, identity formation, and development, especially diaspora philanthropy, Islamic charity, and the role of faith-based development actors in Bangladesh.

Laura Esposito | Political Science | espo1015@bu.edu
Her research interests include the role of Islam in politics, specifically in transitioning governments, and religious extremism.

Carol Ferrara | ferrara@bu.edu

Ada Focer | Graduate Division of Religious Studies | afocer@bu.edu
She is interested in the relationship between 20th century religious life and social thought and social action, particularly among mainline Protestants post-World War II.

Sarah Bruff Garlington | Sociology/Social Work | sgarling@bu.edu
Sarah’s research focuses on cross national comparisons in religion and social welfare policy structures.

Sara Georgini | History | sarage@bu.edu
Sara studies American religious history, with a special emphasis on Revolutionary Anglicanism, as well as the pluralist impulse in nineteenth-century interfaith dialogue. My current research focuses on how fast-day sermons fashioned a national design of Christian morality in the early American republic.

Marthe Hesselmans | Graduate Division of Religious Studies | mhessel@bu.edu
She is interested in the role of churches in South Africa’s racial transition. Her main focus is on how predominantly white reformed church congregations look back at the end of apartheid and to what extent their faith helps or hampers racial reconciliation.

Alex Heywood| Anthropology | aheywood@bu.edu

Kathryn House | STH | kharthouse@gmail.com
Kathryn House completed her Master of Divinity degree at Boston University School of Theology in 2008 and is currently a doctoral student in Practical Theology.  Her academic interests include the constructions of gender and sexuality in evangelical Christian traditions and ecclesiologies.

Jajang Jahroni | Anthropology | jjahroni@bu.edu
His research interests focus on Islamic education, specifically issues related to pesantren (Islamic boarding schools), madrasah (Islamic schools), state-schooling, and the transmission of knowledge.

Lauren Kerby | Graduate Division of Religious Studies | lkerby@bu.edu
Her dissertation studies Christian tourism in Washington, D.C., and its role in constructing Christian American identity. Her other research interests include religious literacy, religion in the public schools, American evangelicalism, religious material culture, and religion and American law.

Kira Ganga Kieffer | GDRS |  kgk@bu.edu
She is focused on contemporary American religion, fundamentalism, American evangelicalism and American religious history.

Mustapha Kurfi | Sociology | mustapha@bu.edu
He is conducting research on the civic role of Muslim women’s organizations in Nigeria.

Kathryn Lamontagne | History | kgl@bu.edu
Her dissertation is on Catholic feminism in Britain, 1880-1914.

Hye Jin Lee | Graduate Division of Religious Studies | lhj3331@bu.edu
He is interested in World Christianity focusing on the evangelical mission works of the Holiness traditions. In particular, he hopes to study the relationship between the American Holiness movement and the Asian Holiness movement from a global perspective.

David Levy | Sociology | dplevy@bu.edu
His research is on the relationship between the state and religions in Kyrgyzstan.

Katie Light | Sociology | klight@bu.edu
Katie’s interests are in studying clergy education, particularly the processes of teaching, learning, and then applying philosophies, values, and theologies of different faith traditions.

Jenn Lindsay | Graduate Division of Religious Studies | jlindsay@bu.edu
Jenn conducts ethnographic and interdisciplinary research on how religion affects personal relationships, particularly interreligious relationships and the experiences of interfaith workers. She is also interested in religious, public and legal discourse about interreligious relationships, and how the blending of traditions in a home affects religious observance and faith.

Huwy-min (Lucia) Liu | Anthropology | lucialiu@bu.edu
Her dissertation explores, both historically and ethnographically, changing modes of governance and subject formation in China through an in depth study of the Shanghai funeral industry.

M. Chloe Mulderig |  Anthropology  |  mulderig@bu.edu
She conducts fieldwork in Fes, Morocco, an works primarily with “muhajababes” – headstrong, sexy, pious hijab-wearing young women – to understand how they negotiate the boundaries of their religion, the state, and the market to create a modern Islamic identity. Her work also explores the motivations of demonstrators in the Arab Spring.

Mentor Mustafa | Anthropology | mentor@bu.edu
His fieldwork is an assessment of the religious revival in post-communist Albania with interests in Sufism, religious experience, islamic mysticism, charismatic authority, and secrecy.

Dat Nguyen | Anthropology | dmnguyen@bu.edu
His primary research deals with religions and politics in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on Buddhism in contemporary Viet Nam. He is interested in exploring the issue of religious governance by examining the relations between the state and Buddhist civil organizations.

Eva Pascal | Graduate Division of Religious Studies | epascal@bu.edu
Her broad areas of interest include Christianity outside the West and its encounters with other religious traditions, mainly Buddhism. Current research explores the transformation of missions in the last century in Southeast Asia, especially the burgeoning faith-based organizations, with an emphasis on the role and historical contributions of women in this process.

Paula Pryce | Anthropology | ppryce@bu.edu
Paula studies Anthropology of Christian Monasticism with a special interest in perception in relation to ritual, and monasticism in urban North America.

Martin Rowe | Sociology | mtrowe@bu.edu
Martin is interested in migration to and within the Global South and how transient migrants in Arab host states establish and perpetuate enduring communities of faith and institutions such as international churches and schools.

Annika Schmeding | Anthropology | ansc@bu.edu

Claire Seulgie LimPolitical Science | clairesl@bu.edu
She is focusing on the state-civil society relationship, including the role of religion in state formation.

Yang Shen | Anthropology | ysanthro@bu.edu

Timothy Snyder | School of Theology | tksnyder@bu.edu.
Tim’s current research is a series of investigations into religious identity and authority in everyday life. As an ethnographer, he studies how American Christian congregations understand their relationship to society. As a theologian, he is interested in how lived-experience critiques contemporary ecclesiology and Christian practice.

Kate Stockly-Meyerdirk | Graduate Division of Religious Studies | kjsm@bu.edu
Kate is interested in the myriad ways in which humans are religious; she seeks to develop a theory of religion that highlights religion’s social dynamics.  In addition, she studies the contemporary shift in American religiosity from mainline churches to evangelical megachurches and what this reveals about human religious desire.

Ben Suitt | Graduate Division of Religious Studies | bensuitt@bu.edu.
His current research interests focus upon the narrative created by the United States’ involvement in violent conflict and how it shapes contemporary Christian ethics with regard to participation in war, conscientious objection, and pacifism.

Chelsea Shields Strayer | Anthropology |  csstrayer@gmail.com
Her research on the interactions between biology and culture in Asante indigenous religion and ritual healing ceremonies in Ghana, West Africa, and has cumulatively spent over 23 months conducting fieldwork in Ghana.

Chris Taylor | Anthropology | cbtaylor@bu.edu
Chris Taylor studies the organization of faith-based charity and social work in Muslim societies of north India.

Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu | Political Science | astekeli@bu.edu
Ahmet Selim  is conducting his fieldwork in four American Muslim communities with a focus on discussions around Muslim transnationalism among American converts to Islam. His research interests include politics of multiculturalism in United States and Europe, international relations theories, and politics of religion in Muslim majority societies.

James C. (Jim) Wallace | Political Science and International Relations (PO) | jcw53@bu.edu
Jim is a mid-career student completing his second doctorate. He has an extensive background in religion, theology, government and politics. His dissertation is on the U.S. government’s use of religion as a tool for covert operations in the early Cold War years. His areas of specialty are IR and religion, political Islam, and religion in China. He is also co-author of a book with Oxford University Press on the Evangelical intelligentsia in America.

Adam Westbrook | GDRS |  awestbro@bu.edu  
He is interested in religious pluralism, the role of religion in intergroup conflict, the challenge and the possibility of interreligious understanding in the United States and Israel/Palestine, and the role religion may play in the reconciliation process in post-conflict areas.

Gina Zurlo | School of Theology  gbello@bu.edu
Gina studies international religious demography (the statistical analysis of religious populations worldwide), currently focusing on Judaism and the religiously unaffiliated. She is also doing research on the Christian history of American sociology and the 20th-century development of quantitative methods as applied to religious adherence.