Social Science and Religion Network-People

Affiliated Faculty


Tim Longman |
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.


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

Robert W. Hefner |
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 (on leave 2015-16)
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.

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.

Robert P. Weller |
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 |
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.


Houchang E. Chehabi | 
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 | (on leave Fall 2015)
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 |
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.


Betty Anderson
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.

Phillip Haberkern |
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 |
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 |
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.


Linda Barnes |
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 |
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.


Kecia Ali |
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
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 |
Professor of Sociology and Religion. His interests include Holocaust studies and American Jewish history and sociology.

Anthony Petro
Assistant Professor of Religion. Petro is a historian of modern Christianity, focusing on religion, gender, and sexuality in the United States. Hehas just published a book called After the Wrath of God: AIDS, Sexuality, and American Religion.

Professor of Religion. A historian of American religion, Professor Prothero specializes in Asian religious traditions in the United States.

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  |
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.

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.

Nimi Wariboko |
Walter G. Muelder Professor of Social Ethics.  The primary foci of his scholarship are economic ethics, Christian social ethics, African social traditions, Pentecostal studies, and philosophical theology.


Nancy T. Ammerman |
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 |
Associate Professor of Sociology. Her research examines the changing nature of the nonprofit sector.

Visiting Researcher. Her interests are in religion, law, and politics in Pakistan.

David Swartz |
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

Evan Anhorn| Graduate Division of Religious Studies |

Mehrdad Babadi | Anthropology |

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

Patrick Browne| History |

Hope Lozano-BielatPolitical Science |
Hope Bielat is a PhD candidate (ABD) with expertise in International Relations and Religion, Fundamentalist Islamic and Catholic Political Movements, and American Campaigns and Elections.

Michel Chambon | Anthropology |
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 |
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 |
Her research focuses on the practice of Vodou among Haitian immigrants in America.

Calynn Dowler | Anthropology |
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.

Paniz Edjlali | Anthropology |

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

Carol Ferrara | Anthropology |
Her dissertation research analyzes the various ways that Catholics and Muslims, as members of the two largest religious groups in France, learn to balance being devout participants of their faith as well as engaged co-citizens of the secular French Republic.

Robert Fitzgibbon| Anthropology |

Ada Focer | Graduate Division of Religious Studies |
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.

Kira Ganga Kieffer | Graduate Division of Religious Studies |
She is focused on contemporary American religion, fundamentalism, American evangelicalism and American religious history.

Jennifer Koester| Anthropology |
Jennifer Koester’s interests include religious nationalist discourses concerning women and women’s behavior and how those discourses affect women’s movements and behaviors in public and private spaces in North India. She is particularly interested in what women wear in different spaces and how these choices intersect with discourses on gender based violence and gender based violence activism.

Sara Georgini | History |
Sara studies American religious history, with a special emphasis on Revolutionary Anglicanism, as well as the pluralist impulse in nineteenth-century interfaith dialogue. Her 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 |
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.

Dalia Haitayan| History |

Alex Heywood| Anthropology |

Kathryn House | School of Theology |
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.

Dima Hurlbut| History |

Lauren Kerby | Graduate Division of Religious Studies |
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.

Valeriya Kamenova | Political Science |
Valeriya received her M.A. Degree in International Relations from Jacobs University-Bremen, Germany (2014). In 2013, she assisted on a project about democratic transitions in the Arab World at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, Hamburg. Her current research interests include authoritarian governments in the Middle East, and radical-right and anti-Islamic movements and parties in Europe.

Jeanna Kinnebrew | History |
She studies the role of NGOs and foreign policy in the Cold War with Dr. Brooke Blower.

Jennifer Koester | Anthropology |
Mustapha Kurfi | Sociology |
He is conducting research on the civic role of Muslim women’s organizations in Nigeria.

Martha Lagace | Anthropology |

Jessica Lambert | Anthropology |
Her primary research is on gender and sexuality in Morocco with a particular focus on shifting cultural norms. She is interested in civil society and the state as well as identity formation among single mothers, LGBTQ people, and sex workers.

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

Erica Larson | Anthropology |

Hye Jin Lee | Graduate Division of Religious Studies |
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 |
His research is on the relationship between the state and religions in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Katie Light | Sociology |
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 |
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.

Siyan Meng | Sociology |
Siyan received her BA in Law from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. She worked with Rural Women Development Foundation in China. Her interests lie in sociology of religion and organizations.

Leah MickensGraduate Division of Religious Studies |

Tenei Nakahara | Anthropology |

Dat Nguyen | Anthropology |
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.

Rachel Paiste | International Relations |

Ruizhi Pang | Political Science |

Eva Pascal | Graduate Division of Religious Studies |
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.

Rachelle Reinhart | Sociology |
Her research interests are in sociology of religion, community, and organizations; and historical sociology

Martin Rowe | Sociology |
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 |

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

Mengqing Shang | Anthropology |

Mohammed Omar Sharifi | Anthropology |

Yang Shen | Anthropology |

Timothy Snyder | School of Theology |
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 | Graduate Division of Religious Studies |
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 |
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 |
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.

Ahmet Selim Tekelioglu | Political Science |
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.

Jacob Tischer | Anthropology |

Laura Tourtellotte | Anthropology |

Andrew Vannostrand | International Relations |

James C. (Jim) Wallace | Political Science and International Relations (PO) |
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 | Graduate Division of Religious Studies |  
Adam is interested in religious pluralism, religion and law, politics, and education, 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
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.

Research, Funding, Job Opportunities