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Research Fellows

About the Center

Research Fellows

Because of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture’s unique history and national reputation, it has gathered a permanent group of Faculty Research Fellows from various disciplines working in religion in America. These Fellows, all faculty members of Indiana University’s two research campuses, have a record of accomplishment beyond what any other university in North America can offer. Further, because central Indiana has several colleges, universities, and seminaries, the Center is home to a number of Associate Research Fellows as well. In all, over forty scholars participate in the work of the Center. These include:


Indiana University Faculty Research Fellows


Craig.gifDavid Craig (Ph.D. Princeton University) is professor and chair of religious studies at IUPUI, specializing in religion, ethics, and politics. He is author of John Ruskin and the Ethics of Consumption (University of Virginia Press, 2006), Health Care as a Social Good: Religious Values and American Democracy (Georgetown University Press, 2014), and a score of articles, chapters, reviews, and papers, he researches and writes on social theories, philanthropy, and human meaning. His current book projects relate to the use of demonstrations as public ritual to affect social policy, and class-based problems faced by healthcare deliverers.

brown.gifCandy Gunther Brown (Ph.D., Harvard University) is professor of religious studies at IU-Bloomington. Awarded numerous research grants, she is author of The Word in the World: Evangelical Writing, Publishing, and Reading in America, 1789-1880 (University of North Carolina Press, 2004), Testing Prayer: Science and Healing (Harvard University Press, 2012), and The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America (Oxford University Press, 2013). Additionally, her edited book, Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing (Oxford University Press, 2011), reveals that the primary appeal of pentecostalism worldwide is as a religion of healing. Looking particularly at the history of religious publishing and spiritual healing practices in America, she has authored over forty scholarly articles, chapters, reviews, and papers, including one article that won the Sidney Mead Prize from the American Society of Church History. 

curtis.e.gifEdward E. Curtis IV (Ph.D., University of South Africa) is Millennium Scholar of the Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies at IUPUI, working in the areas of religion, race, and ethnicity; African American religions and history; and Islamic studies. He is the author of Islam in Black America: Identity, Liberation, and Difference in African-American Islamic Thought (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), Black Muslim Religion in the Nation of Islam, 1960-1975 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006), and more than sixty articles, chapters, reviews, and papers. He is a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the National Humanities Center, a U.S. Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative Grant, and an Andrew Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies. He is currently working on a documentary history of Islam in North America to be published by Columbia University Press.

Davis.Tom.web.gifThomas J. Davis (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies at IUPUI. Working in the history of Christianity, he is the author of seven books and more than sixty articles, chapters, reviews, and papers. Recognized internationally for his work in the Reformed tradition, he is a member of the prestigious International Congress for Calvin Research. His creativity goes beyond academic writing, with two novels and another forthcoming. He is presently at work on a history of Christianity through twenty biographies of leaders in that tradition. Besides such prodigious scholarship, Davis was the managing editor of the journal Religion and American Culture for twenty-four years and now serves as co-editor.

Edmond.jpgJoseph L. Tucker Edmonds (Ph.D., Duke University) is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Religious Studies at IUPUI. His research interests are black and womanist theologies, alternative Christianities in the black Atlantic, and the relationship between Africana religious identity, citizenship, and globalization. Joseph's current projects include continuing his study of the Father Divine movement as well as exploring alternative Christian spaces amongst African American LGBT communities in the United States. 

Enright.gifWilliam Enright (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is the Founding Karen Lake Buttrey Director Emeritus of Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at IUPUI. With a doctorate in church history that focused on the history of preaching, Enright spent nearly four decades as a Presbyterian minister. For twenty years he pastored Second Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis, renown for its innovative programs. His current interests reside in understanding the relationship between faith and philanthropy in the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions.

Farnsley_copy.gifArthur E. Farnsley II (Ph.D., Emory University) is clinical research professor and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI. He is an independent researcher, writer, and consultant, with nearly forty articles, chapters, and papers, and six books, including Southern Baptist Politics, Rising Expectations: Urban Congregation, Welfare Reform, and Civic Life, and Sacred Circles, Public Squares: The Multicentering of American Religion. For several years he was research director of IUPUI’s Polis Center project on religion and urban culture, and remains an associate member of the I.U. graduate faculty and an adjunct professor of sociology and religious studies. A frequent contributor to Christian Century, he is currently working on a book about “redneck religion” in America.

Friesenweb.jpgAmanda Friesen (Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln) is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Research Fellow for the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI. Her research interests include political psychology, religion and politics, family socialization, gender and politics, and biology and politics. Her dissertation focused on the intersection of religion and political beliefs within individuals and across generations. More broadly, her work examines American political behavior—from conducting focus groups about the intersection of politics and religion across a range of congregations to examining the physiological correlates of political ideology and participation. Dr. Friesen has published in Political Behavior, Politics & Religion, the Journal For Women, Politics & Policy, and Social Science Quarterly. She also has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation and UNL.

goff.gifPhilip Goff (Ph.D., University of North Carolina), executive director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and professor of religious studies and American studies, has published three books, including The Columbia Documentary History of Religion in America Since 1945 and Themes in Religion and American Culture. He is author of nearly ninety studies, book chapters, articles, reviews, and professional papers. For six years he has been the lead co-editor of Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, as well as series editor for Greenwood Press’s acclaimed American Religious Experience. He is currently completing monographs on early religious radio and religion during the American founding era, as well as acting as lead author for a new textbook on American religious history for Cambridge University Press.

GundermanR.gifRichard Gunderman (Ph.D. and M.D., University of Chicago) is Chancellor's Professor of Radiology, Pediatrics, Medical Education, Philosophy, Liberal Arts, Philanthropy, and Medical Humanities and Health Studies at Indiana University. With interests in medical ethics, philosophy of medicine, philanthropy, and medical humanities, he has published and spoken widely around the world on subjects as varied as ethics in psychiatric research, health and fitness, and emotional intelligence. He is the author of over 600 articles and has published eight books, including We Make a Life by What We Give (Indiana University, 2008), Leadership in Healthcare (Springer, 2009), Achieving Excellence in Medical Education (2nd edition, Springer, 2011), X-ray Vision (Oxford University, 2013), and Essential Radiology (3rd edition, Thieme, 2014). His latest book is We Come to Life with Those We Serve (Indiana University, 2017).

gutjahr_copy.gifPaul Gutjahr (Ph.D., University of Iowa), professor and department chair of English and adjunct in religious studies and American studies at IU-Bloomington, is one of the nation’s leading scholars on the history of publishing in North America. His book, An American Bible: A History of the Good Book in the United States, 1777-1880 (Stanford University Press, 1999) is now the standard history on the topic. In addition, he has edited two important volumes, American Popular Literature in the Nineteenth Century and Illuminating Letters: Essays on Typography and Literary Interpretation. Interdisciplinary in his approach, he has written dozens of articles and papers on the history of the English Bible in North America.

Raymond Haberski, Jr. (Ph.D., Ohio University) is a professor of history and director of American studies at IUPUI. At the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture he serves as Publishing Coordinator.. For the 2008–2009 academic year he held the Fulbright Danish Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the Copenhagen Haberski.jpegBusiness School. He is the author of four books, including God and War: American Civil Religion Since 1945. He has completed a manuscript on Franciscans in the United States and their media for the American Academy of Franciscan History and is at work on a monograph about the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letter, The Challenge of Peace. With a group of his colleagues from around the country, he founded the Society for United States Intellectual History in 2011, a professional organization that grew out of an award-winning blog that he has contributed to since 2009.

Jainweb.jpgAndrea Jain  (Ph.D., Rice University) is associate professor mentor of religious studies at IUPUI and author of Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture (Oxford University Press, 2014). She is also a co-author of Comparing Religions: Coming to Terms (by Jeffrey J. Kripal et al., Wiley-Blackwell, 2014). Her research is concerned with the history of yoga and especially its modern constructions and global popularization. Her recent work on yoga includes articles in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and Nova Religio, as well as a chapter in Gurus of Modern Yoga (edited by Ellen Goldberg and Mark Singleton, Oxford University Press, 2014). She is a regular contributor to Religion Dispatches on topics relating to yoga in contemporary culture.

Keller.Greg.2009.jpgJ. Gregory Keller (Ph.D., Purdue University) is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at IUPUI. His research interests include philosophy of literature; cosmopolitanism; dialogue in Socrates, Buber, H. Richard Niebuhr, Foucault, Gadamer, and Levinas as well as in relation to faith; philosophy of religion; and contemporary and ancient spirtuality as practices and in connection to literature. Recent work includes papers on "Dialogue as a cosmopolitan practice," "On perfect goodness," "The practice of dialogue: Socrates in the Meno," and "Faith and the practice of dialogue."

Kennedy.gifSheila Kennedy (J.D., Indiana University) is associate professor of law and public policy in the highly decorated Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs as well as adjunct professor of political science at IUPUI. Formerly the executive director of the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, she has authored four books and nearly forty articles while writing a weekly column for the Indianapolis Star and speaking extensively. A member of the Indiana State Bar Association, she is among the foremost authorities of the relationships between religion and American public policy.

EdwardLinenthalsmall_copy.gifEdward T. Linenthal (Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara) is professor of history and adjunct professor of American studies at IU-Bloomington, as well as editor of The Journal of American History. Author of seven books, including Preserving Memory: the Struggle to Create America’s Holocaust Museum and The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory, he is among the nation’s leading authorities on public history and memory in America. His longtime interests in war and memory, especially as they present themselves in the processes of veneration, defilement, and redefinition in religious ways, has brought him recognition from the National Parks Service, for which he recently served as Visiting Scholar in NPS’s Civic Engagement and Public History program.

McKivigan2.gifJohn McKivigan (Ph.D., Ohio State University) is Mary O’Brien Gibson Professor of History at IUPUI and editor of the Frederick Douglass Papers. Author and editor of five books and over forty articles, his research centers on American reform movements, ethnic history, and labor history. His book Slavery, Sectionalism, and American Religion is cited in most subsequent books on religiously-motivated social reform as one of the best studies of antebellum religion and the coming Civil War.

nrobertson.gifNancy Marie Robertson (Ph.D., New York University) is associate professor of history, adjunct associate professor of women's studies, and adjunct associate professor of American studies at IUPUI. She works on religion and women’s associations in American history. Author of Christian Sisterhood, Race Relations, and the YWCA, 1906-1946, she has written nearly three dozen articles, reviews, and presentations ranging from race solidarity and Christian women to overviews of philanthropy in the United States.

shippsretire.gifJan Shipps (Ph.D., University of Colorado) is professor emeritus of religious studies at IUPUI and the current president of the American Society of Church History. Among the foremost scholarly authorities of Mormon history, she was the recent subject of several academic articles on her role as the leading non-Mormon interpreter of the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter-day Saints. With four books and hundreds of articles, chapters, reviews, and papers to her credit, she is now working on a book about post-war Mormonism.

Steensland.gifBrian Steensland (Ph.D., Princeton University) is professor of sociology and director of social science research at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI. His research interests include religion and politics in late 20th-century America, and federal and local anti-poverty initiatives. He is the author of The Failed Welfare Revolution: America's Struggle over Guaranteed Income Policy and a number of award-winning articles. His current research focuses on religion and views of the economy, and the politics of morality.

Steinpicutres033_003.gifStephen J. Stein (Ph.D., Yale University) is Chancellor’s Professor of Religious Studies, emeritus, at IU-Bloomington. Author of eleven books, nearly seventy articles and essays, and dozens of book reviews, his book The Shaker Experience in America won the prestigious “Philip Schaff Prize” of the American Society of Church History and stands as the exemplar of a social history of a religious movement. A former president of the American Society of Church History, he was also awarded the I.U. College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Faculty Award. His editorial experience includes more than twenty years as member of the editorial executive committee for The Works of Jonathan Edwards and co-editor of the “Religion in North America” series with Indiana University Press, as well as serving now as co-editor of the journal Religion and American Culture. He is currently the general editor of the three-volume Cambridge History of Religions in America.

Thuesen.web.gifPeter J. Thuesen (Ph.D., Princeton University) is professor of religious studies, adjunct professor of American studies at IUPUI, and is co-editor of the journal Religion and American Culture. His publications include Predestination: The American Career of a Contentious Doctrine (Oxford University Press, 2009), which won the 2010 Christianity Today Book Award for History/Biography; The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 26, Catalogues of Books (Yale University Press, 2008), which is the final volume in the acclaimed critical edition of Edwards; and In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles over Translating the Bible (Oxford University Press, 1999), which won the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize of the American Society of Church History.

Wheeler.07.web.gifRachel Wheeler (Ph.D., Yale University) is associate professor of religious studies at IUPUI. Author of To Live upon Hope: Mohicans and Missionaries in the Eighteenth-Century Northeast (Cornell University Press, 2008) as well as over thirty articles, essays, and papers, she has quickly established herself nationally as a leading expert on missions and religious synthesis. Her new project traces a Mahican Christian family from its pre-conversion days in 1740s Massachusetts to its annihilation in Indiana in 1815. Along with Goff and Johnson, she is co-authoring the new textbook on American religious history for Cambridge University Press.

Wittberg.Pat.web.gifPatricia Wittberg (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is emeritus professor of sociology at IUPUI, specializing in the study of religious institutions and organizations. Author of four books and dozens of articles and book chapters, she was a founding member of the Section on Religion in the American Sociological Association, as well as secretary of both the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association, for which she also served as editor of Review of Religious Research. Studying religion, formal organizations, urban society, and community and civil society, she is the author of The Rise and Fall of Catholic Orders, Emerging Religious Communities, and Creating a Future for Religious Life: A Sociological Perspective.

Wokeck.jpgMarianne S. Wokeck is Chancellor’s Professor of History at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where she teaches early American history. She was educated in Germany and the United States. Her major research interests focus on immigration and ethnicity, including the role of religion in defining identity, and scholarly editing. She served as associate dean of academic affairs in the IU School of Liberal Arts (2006-2013) and as director of the Institute for American Thought (IAT) since 2013. For the past several years her interest in higher education reform has translated in her involvement in Tuning USA, first as a member of the pilot program supported by the Lumina Foundation, and more recently on the Tuning USA/EU advisory board and as a participant of the national Tuning project of the American Historical Association.


Associate Research Fellows


agnew.gifElizabeth Agnew (Ph.D., Indiana University) is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Ball State University. Her areas of special interest include Religion in American Culture, Religion and Social Ethics, and Gender Issues in Religion and Ethics. Her research focuses on Protestant traditions and progressive social reform, and on religious and secular discourses about needs and rights. Her research on social reform and social work leader Mary Richmond appears in the edited collection Gender and the Social Gospel (Illinois, 2003) and in her book From Charity to Social Work: Mary Richmond and the Creation of an American Profession (Illinois, 2004).

baer.gifJonathan Baer (Ph.D., Yale University) is Associate Professor of Religion at Wabash College. Teaching courses in African-American religion, health and religion, and Christian fiction, his research focuses on ideas of religious healing in American history. He has published articles in Church History and Journal of Religion. The winner of multiple research prizes, he is currently revising his dissertation for publication as a book.

SCurtis.gifSusan Curtis (Ph.D., University of Missouri) is professor of history and director of American studies at Purdue University, working in U.S. cultural history, American Studies, and the history of religion in America.  Dr. Curtis has published three major works and dozens of chapters, articles, and reviews. Her book A Consuming Faith: The Social Gospel and Modern American Culture demonstrated the interplay between sacred and secular realms in the reformulation of Protestant thought and practice between the 1880s and 1920s.

deno_vivian.gifVivian Deno (Ph.D., University of California, Irvine) is associate professor of history at Butler University. Working on the intersection of race, gender, and class in early Pentecostalism, she has already published in the Journal of Women’s History and is writing about early Pentecostal missions in the American southwest, as well as representations of Charismatic Christians in popular film.

Mirola_copy.gifWilliam Mirola (Ph.D., Indiana University) is dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Marian University. A longtime student of religion, social movement activism, labor history, and class divisions, he has published several articles on coalitions between religious groups and the American labor movement. In addition to church-labor issues, he has conducted large surveys of local opinion about the role congregations play in shaping civic life in Indianapolis. He is presently completing a book about Protestantism and the Eight-Hour Movement in nineteenth-century Chicago.

Patterson.jpgSara M. Patterson (Ph.D. Claremont Graduate University) is Associate Professor of Theological Studies at Hanover College where she teaches courses in History of Christianity and American Religious History. In her research, Patterson explores understandings of sacred space in the American West. Her work on Salvation Mountain, a piece of outsider religious artwork in the southern Californian desert, recently received a Luce Fellowship from the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies. Her new project examines the intersections of historical memory and sacred space along the Mormon trail.

ringenberg.gifWilliam Ringenberg (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is professor of history at Taylor University and past president (1988-90) of the Conference of Faith and History. Specializing in American religious history and the foundations of Christian thought, he has numerous works on the history of Protestant Higher Education including Taylor University: the First 150 Years (1996); Letters to Young Scholars: An Introduction to Christian Thought (2003); and The Christian College: A History of Protestant Higher Education in America (2006).

Seay.gifScott Seay (Ph.D., Vanderbilt University) is Associate Professor of the History of Christianity and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Christian Theological Seminary. Author of two books, Hanging Between Heaven and Earth: Capital Crime, Execution Preaching, and the Shape of New England Theology and The Election Preaching of the New Divinity Men, he has published over forty articles and reference entries about American religion. He is currently the managing editor of global and inclusive narrative history of the Stone-Campbell Movement, underwritten by the Disciples of Christ Historical Society.

Yang.gifFenggang Yang (Ph.D., The Catholic University of America) is professor of sociology and director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Culture at Purdue University. His work is on the sociology of religion, particularly immigrant religions in the United States. He is the author of Chinese Christians in America and co-editor of Asian American Religions: The Making and Remaking of Borders and Boundaries and State, Market and Religions in Chinese Societies. He has major articles in many sociological journals, one of which won the “Distinguished Article Award” for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. His current research is on the political economy of religion in China and Chinese Christian churches in the United States.

Ziegler_copy.gifValarie Ziegler (Ph.D., Emory University) is Walter E. Bundy professor of religious studies at Depauw University, specializing in religion in America and the history of Christianity. An award-winning teacher, she is also the author of three books: The Advocates of Peace in Antebellum America, Eve and Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender, and Diva Julia: The Public Romance and Private Agony of Julia Ward Howe.