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2020 Participants

Lindsey Jackson

Lindsey is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Religions and Cultures at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Her dissertation examines American and Canadian Jews who are choosing not to circumcise their son in favor of alternative non-cutting rituals. Lindsey's research also examines how anti-circumcision activism (also known as intactivism) is impacting Jewish observance of circumcision. More broadly, her research interests pertain to American religion, ritual theory, gender and sexuality, and religion and the body. Lindsey is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Religion and Culture and host of the New Books in Religion podcast.

Christopher Jones

Christopher Jones is assistant professor of history at Brigham Young University, where he teaches courses on missions and missionaries in American history, slavery and the slave trade, and family history. He completed a PhD at the College of William & Mary. His dissertation-turned-book manuscript examines how racial and political strife during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries ruined Methodist efforts to sustain a transatlantic Wesleyan community. He has recently begun working on a new project studying the first global missions launched by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 1850s and how they transformed Mormonism in the nineteenth century.

Erik Kline

Erik Kline is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English at the University of Alabama. His dissertation, "The Intoxicated Pilgrim in America's Atomic Age Literature" examines the spiritual fallout of the atomic bomb and writers' negotiations of it with travel, drugs, and ecstatic visionary experiences. His research specialties include twentieth-century American fiction and nonfiction, addiction studies, and word-text studies. His work appears in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men at 75: Anniversary Essays (U of Tennessee P) and The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review.

Dana Lloyd

Dana Lloyd is a postdoctoral research associate at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in Saint Louis. She holds a PhD in Religion from Syracuse University and an LLM from Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Law. She is currently working on a book manuscript, entitled Arguing for this Land: Rethinking Indigenous Sacred Sites.

Cody Musselman

Cody is a doctoral candidate in Religious studies at Yale University, specializing in American Religious History. She is a graduate of Kalamazoo College and Harvard Divinity School. Her research interests include American secularism, capitalism, material and sensory culture, and religion in popular culture, wellness spaces, and media. Her dissertation, "Embodying the Brand: Fitness and Colloquial Religion in the United States," is an ethnographic exploration of the religious tropes, themes, and language in two contemporary branded fitness regimens, CrossFit and SoulCycle.

Matt Sheedy

Matt Sheedy holds a Ph.D. in the study of religion, and is a visiting professor in the department of North American Studies at the University of Bonn, Germany. His research interests include critical social theory, theories of secularism and atheism, as well as representations of Christianity, Islam, and Native American traditions in popular and political culture. He is currently working on a book called Contesting the Secular: Religious Symbols, Identity Politics, and the Fragility of “Western” Values.

Zachary Smith

Zachary Smith is a PhD Candidate in Sports Studies at the University of Tennessee where he is also a research assistant for the Center for the Study of Sport and Religion. Previously, he completed an MA in Comparative Religion at Western Michigan University. His research focuses on the intersection of religions and physical cultures which he is currently pursuing through an ethnographic exploration of evangelical Christian mixed martial arts in the U.S.

Brad Stoddard

Brad Stoddard is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at McDaniel College. He is also the President of the North American Association for the Study of Religion and the series editor for the NAASR Working Papers book series. His research explores religion in American prisons, American religious history, religion and politics/law, and method and theory in the study of religion. He is currently revising his manuscript entitled Spiritual Entrepreneurs: Florida’s Faith-Based Prisons and the Carceral State (in contract with UNC Press). This book offers an ethnography and history of Florida’s faith-based correctional institutions, where it situates these institutions within the convergence of conservative Protestant activism, mass incarceration, and neoliberal reforms.

Brook Wilensky-Lanford

Brook Wilensky-Lanford is a PhD candidate in Religion in the Americas at UNC Chapel Hill. Her AE research project will explore how a Mark Twain parody popularized the idea of an accessible heaven in American culture--much to his chagrin. She is interested in how the material circulation of popular books functions within the historiography of American religious culture, using genre theory, narratology, and material-religion methodologies. Brook holds an M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from Columbia University, and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Wesleyan University. The author of Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden (Grove Press, 2011) and former editor-in-chief of the online magazine Killing the Buddha, her essays and reviews have appeared in a wide range of literary and journalistic publications.