Faculty Research

Here's what our department's faculty have been working on lately:

Rory Johnson published an article, "Sobriety and Ecstasy: Ritual Dimensions in Dorsey's Gospel Blues," in the journal Critical Sociology. Dr. Johnson's current research focuses on the commodification of collective memory and identity in African American religious practice.

Hillel Gray examines the interplay of Jewish law with Christian and secular ethics, end-of-life care, and religious approaches to medical and environmental health risks. Recent projects include a study of diverse Jewish views of gender assignment for people with intersex conditions and for transgender persons. 

Liz Wilson's current research is informed by theories about globalization. In one project, she is exploring transnational networks that fed the mid-20th century revival of Buddhism in India. Another project investigates repercussions of the Theravada nuns' revival movement for "precept nuns," women who follow renunciatory precepts but are not officially recognized as fully ordained nuns. This project examines the possible rifts created between women by the introduction of new status positions in places where higher ordination for women has not been an option for many centuries. 

John-Charles Duffy has published a co-authored textbook, part of Routledge's "The Basics" series, that uses Mormonism as a case study for examining themes in American religion. He is now working on a second textbook, which will introduce American religious history through the lens of "empire."

James Hanges is working on his next book, The End of the Damascus Road, a follow-up to his much-praised Paul, Founder of Churches. His essay, "'A World of Shrines and Groves': N. T. Wright and Paul among the Gods," was recently published in the anthology God and the Faithfulness of Paul: A Critical Examination of the Pauline Theology of N. T. Wright. Dr. Hanges is also an op-ed writer for The Bible and Interpretation, a website dedicated to making biblical scholarship accessible to wider audiences.

Scott Kenworthy recently finished a two-year research fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which allowed him to live in Germany while he conducted research for his latest book: a study of Tikhon Bellavin, patriarch of the Church of Russia at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution.