Associate Professor and Endowed Chair in Roman Catholic Studies
Education: Princeton University (MA, Ph.D.), Swarthmore College (BA)
Religion, Secularism, Law and Politics, Settler Colonialism, Social MovementsIn my work I think about the relationship of religion, especially Catholicism, and formations of race and empire, particularly US settler colonialism. I am interested in how religious and colonial things have co-constituted one another, historically, and I am also interested in moments when religion is an opportunity for resistance. Religion and law (church-state relations) is one place I go to ask these questions-- my first book was Religious Lessons: Catholic Sisters, Public Education and the Law in Midcentury New Mexico (Oxford University Press, 2012). My recent work has dealt especially with Catholic clerical sexual abuse in the context of US "Indian missions"; I have published longer academic pieces on this, as well as shorter pieces online for journals like the National Catholic Reporter and The Revealer. This work has extended into to thinking about religious boarding schools and other residential facilities that managed Native youth. Currently I am co-writing a book on Catholic horror, in which we think both about the Catholic-ness of horror in US film and literature and about horror as a current in Catholic history. In the American Studies Department, I teach graduate seminars on Secularism and Empire and on Religion, Race, and Revolution, as well as undergraduate courses on Radical Religions & American Transformations and on Religion in New Mexico. I also teach courses on Catholicism, including on Catholic saints, in the religious studies program at UNM.