Chapter 3

In the Fall of 2017 the core group was expanded and our efforts working with select cross-disciplinary readings. The members of this phase are:

Andie Alexander is a doctoral student in American Religious Cultures at Emory University. Her research focuses on identity construction, boundary formation, nationalism, and discourses on classification by examining Italian immigration to the U.S., in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as a way to explore the establishment of a what is now seen as a successful minority in the U.S.: American Catholicism. She has an invited contribution in Steven Ramey’s edited volume  Fabricating Difference (Equinox, 2017) and a forthcoming chapter co-authored with Russell McCutcheon in Craig Martin and Brad Stoddard’s Stereotyping Religion: Critiquing Clichés (Bloomsbury). She joined Culture on the Edge in 2013 as its online Curator, and as of 2017, has also become a contributor. Read Andie’s posts here.

Tara Baldrick-Morrone is a Ph.D. candidate in Religions of Western Antiquity at Florida State University. Her research focuses on the ways the ancient world is reimagined and reconstructed in modern​-day discourse, especially on the topic of abortion. Read Tara’s posts here.

Christopher Cotter is Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He is Co-Founder of the Religious Studies Project, Co-Director at the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network and Honorary Treasurer of the British Association for the Study of Religions. His research interests include ‘non-religion’, ‘the secular’ and related categories, qualitative methods, discourse analysis, spatial approaches, critical theory, and Religious Studies as a discipline. He is co-editor of Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular (2013), After World Religions: Reconstructing Religious Studies (2016), and New Atheism: Critical Perspectives and Contemporary Debates (2017). Read Chris’s posts here.

Jason W. M. Ellsworth is a doctoral student in the Sociology and Social Anthropology Department at Dalhousie University and is a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Prince Edward Island in both the Religious Studies and Sociology & Anthropology Departments. His research interests include the anthropology of religion, Buddhism in North America, marketing & economy, the anthropology of food, and transnationalism. Read Jason’s posts here.

Anja Kirsch received her Ph.D. from the University of Basel, Switzerland, with a dissertation on character education in a secular state. She is a post-doctoral researcher in the Study of Religions at the University of Basel and the program coordinator of two joint doctoral programs in the Study of Religions and Theology. Her research interests include atheism and the modern criticism of religion; narrative cultures, efficacy, and plausibility in literary aesthetics; the conceptual history of religion in modernity; and questions of historiography. She is currently working on religious and political utopian thought, narratives of revolution and processes of transatlantic migration in the long nineteenth-century European history of religions. Read Anja’s posts here.

Craig Martin is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at St. Thomas Aquinas College. His research focuses on method and theory in the study of religion, particularly discourse analysis and ideology critique. His recent books include Capitalizing Religion: Ideology and the Opiate of the Bourgeoisie, A Critical Introduction to the Study of Religion, and (co-edited with Brad Stoddard), Stereotyping Religion: Critiquing Clichés. Read Craig’s posts here.

Russell McCutcheon who earned his Ph.D. in 1995 from the University of Toronto, is a professor at the University of Alabama and author of a variety of books which all focus on methodological and theoretical issues in the study of religion. Blogging also at his Department’s website, where he is Chair, his work is concerned with the interplay of agency and structure and the manner in which specific subjectivities and experiences are made possible. Read Russell’s posts here.

Richard Newton is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Elizabethtown College. His scholarship focuses on the anthropology of scriptures. He also curates the student-scholar collaborative blog, Sowing the Seed: Fruitful Conversations in Religion, Culture, and Teaching. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @seedpods. Read Richard’s posts here.

Steven Ramey is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama, where he also directs the Asian Studies program. His most recent edited volume, Fabricating Difference (Equinox 2017), draws on his expertise in contemporary identifications in India to analyze the ways differences between groups are constructed generally, particularly in relation to contemporary discourse on Islam. Read Steven’s posts here.

Martie Smith Roberts is an Assistant Professor of Religion at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Her current research and teaching interests include North American religious pluralism. Her courses focus on the diversity of the American religious landscape, especially the ways in which race, gender, and ethnicity are connected to religious identities and the significance of material culture and lived religious experience in American life. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life, a non-profit educational organization based in Austin, Texas, and sits on the Executive Committee for the North American Association for the Study of Religion. Read Martie’s posts here.

Matt Sheedy holds a Ph.D in the study of religion, and lecturers at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. He is also a visiting professor in the department of North American Studies at the University of Bonn for the 2017-2018 academic year. His research interests include critical social theory, theories of secularism and atheism, as well as representations of Christianity, Islam, and Native traditions in popular and political culture. His dissertation (and soon to be first book) offers a critical look at Jürgen Habermas’s theory of religion in the public sphere. Read Matt’s posts here.

K. Merinda Simmons is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. Her books include Changing the Subject: Writing Women across the African Diaspora (Ohio State UP, 2014), The Trouble with Post-Blackness (co-edited with Houston A. Baker, Jr., Columbia UP, 2015) and Race and Displacement (co-edited with Maha Marouan, U of Alabama P, 2013). She is working on a monograph entitled Sourcing Slave Religion: Theorizing Experience in the American South, as well as two co-authored books: Race and New Modernisms (with Andy Crank, Bloomsbury Academic) and Gender: A Critical Primer (with Craig Martin, Equinox Publishing). She is the editor of the book series Concepts in the Study of Religion: Critical Primers. Read Merinda’s posts here.

Leslie Dorrough Smith is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Avila University (Kansas City, MO), where she is also the director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program. Her academic focus includes the study of how American evangelicals employ sex, gender, and reproduction rhetoric to achieve certain political goals. In addition to numerous articles, chapters, and essays, she is the author of Righteous Rhetoric: Sex, Speech, and the Politics of Concerned Women for America (Oxford, 2014). She is currently working on a manuscript that examines the role that sex scandals play in reinforcing certain American religious ideals. Read Leslie’s posts here.

Stacie Swain is a doctoral student in Political Science specializing in the Cultural, Social, and Political Thought program at the University of Victoria. Her research examines discourses on religion, spirituality, culture, and identity in relation to sovereignty and governance, focusing upon contemporary Indigenous-Canadian relations. Stacie is broadly interested in settler colonialism, social and political theories, critical discourse analysis, and interdisciplinarity. She also co-edits the blog of the Bulletin for the Study of Religion. Read Stacie’s posts here.

Teemu Taira is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Study of Religions, University of Helsinki and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Comparative Religion, University of Turku, Finland. He is committee member of European Association for the Study of Religions and the reviews editor of Temenos: Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion. Teemu’s recent research interests concern discursive study of the category of ‘religion’, religion in the media, and atheist identifications. His publications include studies in all three areas, particularly in Finnish and British contexts. He is author of five monographs and more than 60 scholarly articles. He can be found on Twitter @TeemuTaira and one of his Religious Studies Project interviews can be found here. A very short introduction to some of his ideas can be found here. Read Teemu’s posts here.

Vaia Touna is Assistant Professor at the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. Her scholarly interests range widely, from looking at specific concepts of religion in the Classical and Hellenistic eras to methodological issues concerning the study of religion in general. Her research focuses on the sociology of identity formation with examples drawn from ancient, to modern Greece. Vaia is author of the Fabrications of the Greek Past: Religion, Tradition, and the Making of Modern Identities, and she is the editor for The Problem of Nostalgia in the Study of Identification in the Culture on the Edge Book Series. Vaia also serves as the series editor of Working with Culture on the Edge, a book series with Equinox Publishers. Read Vaia’s posts here.