In a pluralistic democratic society, voices from a variety of religious, secular, scientific, and humanistic standpoints provide valuable perspectives for discerning the course of society’s direction. Participation in that public conversation requires a willingness to listen carefully to other perspectives even while confidently articulating one’s own views. The ongoing dialogue that emerges helps shape our human future.

Affiliated scholars of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC are academics who embrace that robust dialogue. From a wide range of disciplines, IACS Affiliated Scholars believe that the Catholic intellectual tradition provides a valuable perspective both in the academy and in broader society. Whatever the focus of their own research, writing, and teaching; whatever their own religious or secular affiliation, IACS Affiliated Scholars help us think publicly across disciplines and worldviews.

A photo of professor Carlton CavesCarlton M. Caves, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Center for Quantum Information and Control
University of New Mexico
Research areas: Quantum information theory, quantum optics and quantum metrology.

Carlton M. Caves, Ph.D., is a theoretical physicist who has worked mainly on quantum metrology, the science of how to make the most sensitive measurements in the presence of the inherent uncertainties introduced by quantum mechanics. Caves was an undergraduate at Rice University, from which he received a B.A. in Physics and Mathematics in 1972. He received the Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1979 and continued at Caltech as a research fellow and then senior research fellow until 1987. From 1988 until 1992 he was associate professor of electrical engineering and physics at the University of Southern California. He moved to the University of New Mexico as professor of physics and astronomy in 1992, was recognized as a distinguished professor in 2006, and was
director of UNM’s Center for Quantum Information and Control from its founding in 2009 until his
retirement from teaching and administration in 2018. Now distinguished professor emeritus at UNM,
Caves is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of
Science and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Luke Bretherton, Ph.D.
Robert E. Cushman Distinguished Professor of Moral & Political Theology
Duke Divinity School
Duke University
Research areas: Moral and Political Theology; Religion and Democracy; Interfaith Relations; Christianity and capitalism

Luke Bretherton is Robert E. Cushman Distinguished Professor of Moral and Political Theology at Duke University as well as a visiting professor at St. Mellitus College in London. Before joining Duke in 2012, he taught at King’s College London. His latest book is A Primer in Christian Ethics: Christ and the Struggle to Live Well (Cambridge University Press, 2023). His other books include Christ and the Common Life: Political Theology and the Case for Democracy (2019); Resurrecting Democracy (2015), which was based on a four-year ethnographic study of community organizing initiatives in London and elsewhere; Christianity & Contemporary Politics (2010), winner of the 2013 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing; and Hospitality as Holiness (2006), which develops a constructive response to pluralism. Alongside his scholarly work, he writes in the media (including The Guardian, The Times and The Washington Post) on topics related to religion and politics, has worked with a variety of faith-based NGOs and churches around the world, and is actively involved in forms of grassroots democratic politics, both in the UK and the US. He also hosts and writes the Listen, Organize, Act! podcast which focuses on the historical and contemporary relationship between churches and on-the-ground forms of democratic politics.

Michele Dillon, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts
College of Liberal Arts
University of New Hampshire
Research areas: Contemporary Catholicism, religion and social change, spirituality and adult development, and social theory.

Educated at University College Dublin and University of California, Berkeley, Dillon’s publications include Postsecular Catholicism: Relevance and Renewal (Oxford, 2018), Catholic Identity: Balancing Reason, Faith, and Power (Cambridge, 1999), American Catholics in Transition  (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013), In the Course of a Lifetime: Tracing Religious Belief, Practice and Change (University of California Press, 2007), Debating Divorce: Moral Conflict in Ireland (Kentucky, 1993), Handbook of the Sociology of Religion (editor, Cambridge, 2003); Introduction to Sociological Theory (Wiley, 3rd ed., 2020), Concise Reader in Sociological Theory (editor, Wiley), and more than 50 book chapters and journal articles. She has received grants from the John Templeton Foundation, the Louisville Institute, and the Fetzer Institute; and has served as: the 11th Annual Anne Drummey O’Callaghan Lecturer on Women in the Church at Fairfield University, the JE and Lillian Byrne Tipton Distinguished Visiting Professor in Catholic Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (2011-12), president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, chair of the American Sociological Association Religion Section, and president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. Frequently interviewed by regional, national and international media, Dillon is listed in the world’s top 2 percent of researchers.

Tricia Bruce, Ph.D.
Center for the Study of Religion and Society
University of Notre Dame
Research areas: U.S. Catholicism, social and generational change, parishes and congregations, public opinion and polarization.

Tricia C. Bruce (Ph.D., University of California Santa Barbara) is a sociologist of religion with expertise in organizational, attitudinal, and generational change. Her award-winning books and reports include Parish and Place; Faithful Revolution; American Parishes; Polarization in the U.S. Catholic Church; and How Americans Understand Abortion. Her writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Science Advances, Review of Religious Research, U.S. Catholic Historian and more. She is president-elect of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, past-chair of the American Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Section and an affiliate of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society.

A photo of IACS DePaul Fellow Leo Guardado, Ph.D.Leo Guardado, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Theology
Fordham University
Research areas: Theological responses to the violence of forced displacement, focusing specifically on the tradition of church sanctuary.

Leo Guardado, Ph.D., is the 2023 DePaul Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC. Born in El Salvador, Guardado immigrated to the U.S. with his mother when he was a child, settling in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. He earned his bachelor’s degree in religious studies from St. Mary’s College of California, and his master’s of theological studies and a doctorate in systematic theology and peace studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Michael Hout, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
New York University
Research areas: Social Change, inequality and demography.

Michael Hout, Ph.D., is a professor of sociology and the director of the Center for Advanced Social Science Research at New York University. His research uses demographic methods to study social change in inequality, religion, and politics mostly in the USA and Europe, but occasionally in other countries. For much of his career, he has been involved with the General Social Survey (GSS), a long-running NSF project. His current work uses the GSS to study changing occupational hierarchies and social mobility and long-term trends associated with political polarization. An exciting side project involves studying social mobility in Tang dynasty China (615-907CE), at the dawn of the imperial exam system of allocating administrative positions.

A photo of IACS affiliated faculty Brad FultonBrad R. Fulton, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
O’Neill School of Public Affairs
Indiana University
Research areas: Organizations, research methods and social policy.

Brad R. Fulton, Ph.D., is an associate professor of management and social policy at Indiana University. His research examines the social, political, and economic impact of nonprofit organizations. Fulton directs the National Study of Faith-Based Community Organizing, which examines the causes and consequences of racial, socioeconomic, and religious diversity within grassroots advocacy organizations. He also co-directs the National Study of Congregations’ Economic Practices, which analyzes how congregations receive, manage, and spend their financial resources. Fulton also leads Project 990, which is analyzing data on over one million nonprofit organizations to construct a first-of-its-kind network dataset that links U.S. foundation and grantee data spanning the past 10 years. Among Fulton’s publications is the award-winning book he wrote with IACS President Richard L. Wood, Ph.D. A Shared Future: Faith-Based Organizing for Racial Equity and Ethical Democracy from University of Chicago Press. His research is regularly covered by media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, and NPR. Fulton also directs the Faith & Prejudice Institute, serves as a fellow with the Aspen Institute, and is an editorial board member for the American Journal of Sociology, Sociology of Religion, and Social Service Review. Fulton also has produced three podcasts: Diversity and Inequality, Nonprofit Management & Leadership, and Statistics for the Social Sciences.

Brandon Vaidyanathan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Sociology
The Catholic University of America
Research areas: How culture shapes human flourishing across a variety of institutional disciplines and fields including business, religion and science.

Brandon Vaidyanathan, Ph.D., is the 2023 IACS Hancock Fellow and the author of Mercenaries and Missionaries: Capitalism and Catholicism in the Global South published in 2019 by Cornell University Press. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and HEC Montreal respectively, and a doctorate in sociology from the University of Notre Dame. He was born in Qatar and lived in Oman, India, the UAE, and Canada before moving to the U.S. He lives in Maryland with his wife Claire and their six children.

Paul W. Speer, Ph.D.
Seven Turns Professor of Human & Organizational Development
Peabody College
Vanderbilt University
Research areas: Community organizing, participation, social power and community change.

Paul W. Speer, Ph.D. is the Seven Turns Professor in Human and Organizational Development, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. His research is in the area of community organizing, participation, social power and community change. His work is focused on how community organizing settings and contexts support sustained civic engagement, as well as the social network properties within those different contexts that are associated with strong participation. He studies how these organizational contexts then translate that participation into the exercise of social power to achieve system-level changes in the broader community. Additionally, he studies how engagement with groups exercising social power alters psychological and behavioral characteristics for individual participants. He also examines how groups conceptualize social power, and the kinds of social change associated with these different conceptualizations. He has published over 60 articles and chapters and is currently on the editorial boards of the Journal of Urban Affairs and the American Journal of Community Psychology. He teaches courses in Community Development Theory, Action Research, and Community Organizing.

Tia Noelle Pratt, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President for Mission Engagement and Strategic Initiatives, and Assistant Professor of Sociology, Office for Mission and Ministry
Villanova University
Research areas: Sociology of religion, Roman Catholicism in the U.S., systemic racism and African-American Catholic identity.

Tia Noelle Pratt, Ph.D., is the assistant vice president for Mission Engagement and Strategic Initiatives, assistant professor of sociology, and editor of the Journal of Catholic Social Thought at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. A sociologist of religion by training, Dr. Pratt received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Fordham University in 2010. For more than twenty years, Dr. Pratt has researched and written about systemic racism in the Catholic Church in the U.S. and its impact on African-American Catholic identity. Dr. Pratt is also the curator of the #BlackCatholicsSyllabus. She is an alum of two IACS programs, The American Parish Project and Generations in Dialogue. Dr. Pratt is currently working on a book, Faithful and Devoted: Racism and Identity in the African-American Catholic Experience. Her academic work has been featured in the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and multiple edited volumes. Dr. Pratt’s award winning public scholarship has been featured in Faithfully, Commonweal, The Revealer, National Catholic Reporter and America.

Gary Adler, Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology and Criminology
Pennsylvania State University
Research Areas: Culture, religion-state relations, civil society and civic organizations, law, social movements

Gary Adler (Ph.D. University of Arizona; M.A. Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley) is a sociologist who examines how culture shapes organizations and individuals, particularly at the intersection of religion and politics. He was the founding director of research at the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies. He co-directs the American Local Leaders Study, a nationally representative study funded by the National Science Foundation. Through surveys and interviews, this research shows how local officials engage religion and how religion-state law works in practice. He is a 2024 Fulbright Fellow at the University of Zagreb (Croatia) for a comparative study of how street-level religion-state relations differ across democracies.

He is the author of three books, including Empathy Beyond U.S. Borders (Cambridge University Press, 2019), an ethnographic study of how transnational organization raise awareness about undocumented immigration, and American Parishes: Remaking Local Catholicism (Fordham University Press, 2019). He has received numerous research awards, including from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and the Louisville Institute. His research on the institutional logics and aesthetic styles of U.S. religious congregations won the 2023 Clifford Geertz Award from the American Sociological Association’s Culture Section.

David Albertson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religion and Executive Director, Nova Forum for Catholic Thought
School of Religion, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
University of Southern California
Research areas: Medieval Christian mysticism, theology and philosophy

David Albertson, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Religion in the School of Religion at the University of Southern California. Before arriving at USC in 2007, he studied at Stanford University, Oxford University, the University of Chicago and the Universität zu Köln. He is the author of the award-winning Mathematical Theologies: Nicholas of Cusa and the Legacy of Thierry of Chartres (Oxford University Press, 2014), editor of Cusanus Today: Thinking with Nicholas of Cusa between Philosophy and Theology (The Catholic University of America Press, 2024), and co-editor of Without Nature? A New Condition for Theology (Fordham University Press, 2009), as well as over two dozen articles on medieval Christian mysticism, theology, and philosophy. Albertson’s research has been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He serves as founding Executive Director of the Nova Forum for Catholic Thought, a member institute of the In Lumine Network, and co-chair of the Theological Commission for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Albertson contributes to Commonweal and America Magazine, and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

Erin Brigham, Ph.D.
Director, Joan and Ralph Lane Center for Catholic Social Thought and the Ignatian Tradition
Theology and Religious Studies
University of San Francisco
Research areas: Catholic Social Thought, theology and social teaching of Pope Francis, ecclesiology, feminist theology

Erin Brigham earned her Ph.D. in systematic and philosophical theology from the Graduate Theological Union in 2010, when she began teaching at USF in the areas related to Catholic theology and social thought. She is the author of See, Judge, Act: Catholic Social Teaching and Service Learning, Revised Edition (Anselm Academic, 2018) and Church as Field Hospital: Toward an Ecclesiology of Sanctuary (Liturgical Press, 2022), and co-edited Women Engaging the Catholic Social Tradition: Solidarity Toward the Common Good (Paulist Press, 2022). Her research and teaching continue to focus on the social teaching and theology of Pope Francis, and the intersections of gender and poverty in Catholic social thought.

David Campbell, Ph.D.
Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy
University of Notre Dame
Research areas: religion and politics, secularism, Mormonism, civic engagement and social capital

David Campbell is the Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame. His research focuses on civic and political engagement, with particular attention to religion and young people. Dr. Campbell’s most recent book is Secular Surge: A New Fault Line in American Politics (with Geoff Layman and John Green), which received the Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Among his other books is American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (with Robert Putnam), winner of the award from the American Political Science Association for the best book on government, politics, or international affairs. His work has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals including the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, and Daedalus. In addition, he has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and — every political scientist’s dream — Cosmopolitan.

Lee Cerling, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Business Communication
Department of Business Communication
USC Marshall School of Business
Research areas: History of rhetoric, business communication and business ethics

Lee Cerling has a Ph.D. in Rhetoric from the University of Iowa. He teaches writing and business ethics to undergraduates, and also works with doctoral students in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He has long cultivated an interest in language and beauty, especially as they pertain to our understanding of God. Teaching in a school of business, he has also cultivated an interest in the aesthetic dimension of various business practices, especially with respect to their use of language and business spaces.

Carolyn Chen, Ph.D.
Professor of Ethnic Studies
University of California, Berkeley
Research areas: Religion, work, spirituality and Asian American religion

Carolyn Chen is a sociologist and Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, co-director of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, and executive director of the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative. Her research focuses on religion, spirituality, and work in contemporary America, as well as Asian American religion. Carolyn has published three books: Work Pray Code: When Work Becomes Religion in Silicon Valley (Princeton 2022), Getting Saved in America: Taiwanese Immigration and Religious Experience (Princeton 2008) and Sustaining Faith Traditions: Religion, Race and Ethnicity among the Latino and Asian American Second Generation (NYU 2012). Her writing has appeared in outlets such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CNN and The Atlantic.


Maureen K. Day, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religion and Society
Franciscan School of Theology
Research areas: Religion and public life, Catholicism, human life and meaning, social ethics and pastoral practice.

Maureen Day (Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union) is the Associate Professor of Religion and Society at the Franciscan School of Theology and Research Affiliate at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. She is an award-winning author and her books and articles can be found in both Catholic and academic publications, including Catholic Activism Today (NYU Press 2020) and Young Adult American Catholics (Paulist Press 2018). With training in both sociology and theology, her teaching and research have included areas such as religion in American civic life, Catholic campus ministry, young adults, family, stewardship, and priestly well-being and support. She has provided her expertise to the Church at the diocesan, national and international level, recently working with the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) on a formation document exploring affective maturity. Her current co-authored book project reports the findings from a national survey of over 1500 American Catholics and interviews with nearly sixty Catholic leaders (Catholicism’s Crossroads, NYU Press Forthcoming). Her pastorally-oriented manuscript explores Catholic beliefs, practices and identity among Catholics who attend Mass infrequently and considers possible pastoral approaches in accompanying them (Cultural Catholics, Liturgical Press Forthcoming)

Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J., Ph.D., S.T.D.
Distinguished Scholar in Residence of Pastoral Theology and Latino Studies
Department of Theological Studies
Loyola Marymount University
Research areas: Pastoral theology and missiology, Ignatian spirituality, Catholic social teaching and hispanic ministry.

Jesuit Fr. Allan Figueroa Deck is Distinguished Scholar in Residence in the field of Pastoral Theology and Chicano/Latino Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Fr. Deck previously held the endowed Casassa Chair of Catholic Social Values at LMU. He has held full-time teaching positions at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University. The Catholic bishops selected him to serve as founder and first director of the USCCB Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church in Washington, D.C. He is the co-founder and first president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS). He has served on the board of trustees of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, and on the boards of several universities including the University of San Francisco, Loyola Marymount University and, currently, Mount Saint Mary’s University. Fr. Deck is a national and international speaker in his fields of interest and author or editor of nine books and more than sixty chapters in books, scholarly, peer-reviewed or popular articles on pastoral theology, ministry, spirituality and Catholic Social Teaching.

Elaine Howard Ecklund, Ph.D.
Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences and Professor
Department of Sociology
Rice University
Research areas: Religion, science, immigration and culture.

Elaine Howard Ecklund is the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology, and director of the Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance at Rice University. As a sociologist of religion, science, and work, she is particularly interested in social change and how institutions change, especially when individuals leverage aspects of their religious, race, and gender identities to change institutions. Over the past several years Elaine’s research has explored how scientists in different nations understand religion, ethics, and gender; religion at work; and the overlap between racial and religious discrimination in workplaces. Elaine is the author of eight books, over 150 research articles, and numerous op-eds. She has received grants and awards from multiple organizations including the National Science Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, Templeton World Charity Foundation, and Templeton Religion Trust. Her latest book is Varieties of Atheism in Science with David R. Johnson (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Carlos M. N. Eire, Ph.D.
T. Lawrason Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies
Yale University
Research areas: Late Medieval and Early Modern History of Christianity

Carlos Eire is a historian of late medieval and early modern Europe who focuses on the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, the history of popular piety, the history of the supernatural and the history of death. At Yale he has served as chair of the Religious Studies Department and the Renaissance Studies Program. Before joining Yale in 1996, he taught at St. John’s University in Minnesota and the University of Virginia, and was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton for two years. His latest book is They Flew: A History of the Impossible (2023) His other books include War Against the Idols (1986); From Madrid to Purgatory (1995); A Very Brief History of Eternity (2010); Learning to Die in Miami (2010); Reformations: The Early Modern World (2016); and The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila: A Biography (2019). In 2003 he won the National Book Award in Nonfiction for his childhood memoir Waiting for Snow in Havana (2003), which has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He is a board member of the American Academy of Sciences and Letters, as well as a contributor to The Washington Post, The Guardian, National Review and First Things. All of his books are banned in Cuba, where he has been proclaimed an enemy of the state, a distinction he regards as the highest of all honors.

Massimo Faggioli

Massimo Faggioli, Ph.D.
Professor of Historical Theology
Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Villanova University
Research areas: History and theology of Vatican II and post-Vatican II, Global Catholicism, abuse crisis in the Catholic Church

Dr. Massimo Faggioli is full professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University. His books and articles have been published in more than ten languages. He is member of the steering committee for the project “Vatican II: Legacy and Mandate” for a multi-volume, intercontinental commentary of Vatican II. In 2023, he waselected to the board of editors of the Concilium: International Journal for Theology. He was founding co-chair of the study group “Vatican II Studies” for the American Academy of Religion between 2012 and 2017. He has a column in La Croix International, and is contributing writer for Commonweal magazine and for the Italian magazine Il Regno. Among his recent publications: The Liminal Papacy of Pope Francis. Moving Toward Global Catholicity (2020); Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States (Bayard 2021); The Oxford Handbook of Vatican II, co-edited with Catherine Clifford (2023); and Global Catholicism: Between Disruption and Encounter, co-authored with Bryan Froehle, with whom he co-founded and co-edits the series “Studies in Global Catholicism” for Brill Publishers. He is under contract with Oxford University Press for a book on the history of the Roman Curia. He lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and their two childre

Dan Finn

Daniel Finn, Ph.D.
Trustee, Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC
Clemens Professor of Economics and Professor of Theology
St. John’s University & The College of St. Benedict
Research areas: Theology and economics

Daniel K. Finn is Professor of Theology and Clemens Professor of Economics at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict in Minnesota. His scholarly work and teaching occur on the boundary between theology and economics. His courses include “Structures of Sin and Grace,” “The History of Christian Views of Economic Life,” “Competing Views of Justice in the 21st Century,” “Economics, Philosophy, and Method,” and “The History of Economic Thought.” He has received lifetime achievement awards from the Catholic Theological Society of America (the John Courtney Murray Award) and the Association for Social Economics (the Thomas Divine Award). He is a former president of those two professional societies and of the Society of Christian Ethics. For nearly two decades, he has been the Director of the True Wealth of Nations project at IACS. He has lectured in more than 20 nations in Latin America, Europe, and Asia and has led a successful affordable housing campaign among five cities in central Minnesota. He is joyfully married to Carmelita Finn. His two children and two grandchildren live in Seattle, Washington.

Clayton Alexander Fordahl

Clayton Fordahl, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
School of Social Sciences and Humanities
University of Akureyri, Iceland
Research Areas: sociology of religion, politics, comparative-historical research

Clayton Fordahl is a historical sociologist interested in the relationship between religion and politics. His publications have concerned a range of topics, including martyrdom, civil religion, presidential elections, and secularization. He was previously assistant professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Memphis and is currently based in Iceland, where he teaches on topics in the social sciences and the critical study of modernity. His current research concerns the interaction of national civil religion with environmental policies.

Kristen GeamanKristen L. Geaman, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer
Department of History
University of Toledo
Research areas: Medieval England, women and gender, infertility, witchcraft

Kristen Geaman received her Ph.D. in medieval history from the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on infertility, gender, and queenship in medieval England, and she has published articles about the English queen Anne of Bohemia in both the English Historical Review and Social History of Medicine. Her biography of Anne, Anne of Bohemia, was published by Routledge in 2022. Her work on infertility and her classroom teaching sparked an interest in witchcraft, and she is currently researching Eleanor Cobham, a medieval English noblewoman accused of witchcraft in the 1440s. Her teaching interests include witchcraft and magic, religious pluralism in medieval Spain, women in medieval Europe, and using graphic novels in the classroom.

Rev. Patrick GilgerFr. Patrick Gilger, S.J., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Loyola University Chicago
Research Areas: Public religion, social theory, sociology of religion, secularity/secularization/secularism, and democratization and de-democratization.

Fr. Patrick Gilger, S.J. is assistant professor of sociology and affiliate faculty in Catholic Studies at Loyola University Chicago. His scholarship applies micro-sociological approaches to the study of public religion, secularity, and democracy. Gilger has published in the Journal of Religion and Societyhas a chapter forthcoming in A Quarter Century of Public Religions: The Sociology of Jose Casanova, and is editing a forthcoming issue of The European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology. In addition to his doctorate, for which he was awarded the Alfred Schutz Memorial Award in Philosophy and Sociology by the graduate faculty of the New School for Social Research, he holds master’s degrees in philosophy, theology, and sociology. Gilger is an award-winning author and frequent public speaker with writing that has appeared in such publications as Vox, La Civiltà CattolicaPublic SeminarChurch Life Journal, and America. He is the 2023 Teilhard Fellow at Loyola’s Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage.

Brett C. Hoover, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Practical Theology
Theological Studies Department
Loyola Marymount University
Research Areas: Immigration, Catholic parish life in diverse areas, ministry across racial and ethnic groups, and religious disaffiliation.

Brett C. Hoover is Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Loyola Marymount University, and from 2017 to 2023 directed the Master of Arts programs there in Theology and Pastoral Theology. Dr. Hoover’s research focuses on qualitative studies of Catholic faith communities using sociological method and theory, though his ultimate aim is constructive theological reflection from the Catholic tradition. His courses address immigration, practical theology method, religious disaffiliation, and faith and culture. He is the author of Immigration and Faith: Cultural, Biblical, and Theological Narratives (2021), The Shared Parish: Latinos, Anglos, and the Future of U.S. Catholicism (New York: NYU Press, 2014), and co-editor of Hispanic Ministry in the 21st Century: Urgent Matters (Convivium Press, 2016). He offers frequent workshops and talks for pastoral audiences across the country.

Jaime Kucinskas, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
Sociology Department
Hamilton College
Research Areas: Morality, spirituality and religious culture, civic and political behavior, work and organizations, elites, collective behavior and social movements, and research methods.

Jaime Kucinskas is associate professor in the Department of Sociology at Hamilton College. In her research, she examines the multi-institutional contexts in which people experience spiritual states and meaningfulness, as well as the constitutive institutional conditions under which people engage in moral-sensemaking. She is the author of The Mindful Elite and co-editor of Situating Spirituality: Context, Practice and Power (Oxford University Press). Her work has been published in the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, the Journal for the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, Social Movement Studies, and other academic and popular outlets.

Bo Karen Lee, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Spiritual Theology and Christian Formation
Princeton Theological Seminary
Founder and Director, Center for Contemplative Leadership
Research areas: Contemplative prayer and social action, Ignatian spirituality and healing from trauma, Group Spiritual Direction and Contemplative Listening and Leadership, and Prayer as Resistance + racial justice

Bo Karen Lee, Th.M., Ph.D, is associate professor of spiritual theology and Christian formation at Princeton Theological Seminary. She earned her BA in religious studies from Yale University, her MDiv from Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, and her Th.M. and Ph.D. from Princeton Seminary. She furthered her studies in the returning scholars program at the University of Chicago, received training as a spiritual director from Oasis Ministries, and was a Mullin fellow with IACS. Her book, Sacrifice and Delight in the Mystical Theologies of Anna Maria van Schurman and Madame Jeanne Guyon, argues that surrender of self to God can lead to the deepest joy in God. She has recently completed a volume, The Soul of Higher Education, which explores contemplative pedagogies and research strategies. A recipient of the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise, she gave a series of international lectures that included the topic, “The Face of the Other: An Ethic of Delight.” Professor Lee serves as president of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, and is on the editorial board of the journal, Spiritus. Before joining Princeton faculty, Bo taught in the Theology Department at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland, where she developed courses with a vibrant service-learning component for students to work at shelters for women recovering from drug addiction and sex trafficking. She now enjoys teaching classes on prayer for the Spirituality and Mission Program at Princeton Seminary, in addition to taking students on retreats and hosting meditative walks along nature trails. In December 2022, Professor Lee launched the Center for Contemplative Leadership at Princeton Seminary, which she serves as its Founder and Director (and recent conference organizer exploring “Prayer as Resistance”).

Carol Ann MacGregor

Carol Ann MacGregor, Ph.D.
Vice President Academic and Dean
St. Jerome’s University (federated with the University of Waterloo)
Research areas: Religious Non-Affiliation, Religion and Civic Engagement, Catholic K-12 education, Catholic Higher Education

Carol Ann MacGregor has served as Vice President Academic and Dean (VPAD) at St. Jerome’s University since 2021. She is tenured faculty in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at St. Jerome’s and was previously an Associate Professor of Sociology and Vice Provost at Loyola University New Orleans. Her research on Catholic K-12 education, religious non-affiliation, and religion and civic engagement, has appeared in journals including American Catholic Studies, American Sociological Review, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Social Science Research. Her work has received Outstanding Article awards from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the American Sociological Association’s Section of Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity.

Gerardo Martí, Ph.D.
William R. Kenan, Jr. Endowed Professor of Sociology, Davidson College
Department of Sociology
Davidson College
Research areas: Religion, Race and Ethnicity, Inequality, Innovation, Social Change

Dr. Gerardo Martí is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Endowed Professor of Sociology at Davidson College. He is also President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and Past-President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. His book, The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2014, co-written with Gladys Ganiel), received the 2015 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. His publications include articles in Social Forces, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Religion and American Culture, and Sociology of Religion. His most recent books include Latino Protestants in America (with Mark T. Mulder and Aida I. Ramos, 2017), The Glass Church: Robert H. Schuller, The Crystal Cathedral, and the Strain of Megachurch Ministry (with Mark T. Mulder, 2020), and American Blindspot: Race, Class, Religion, and the Trump Presidency (2020). His leadership includes service on organizational boards and councils, including the Advisory Boards of the Louisville Institute and the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving as well as the Board of Directors for PRRI (Public Religion Research Institute). Currently, Dr. Martí’s research is funded generously through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative and focused on churches actively confronting racial injustice.

Leslie McCall, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality
Presidential Professor of Sociology and Political Science
The City University of New York
Research areas: Trends in economic inequality; perceptions and politics of inequality; race, class, and gender; quantitative methods

Leslie McCall is the author of The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs about Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution (2013) and Complex Inequality: Gender, Class, and Race in the New Economy (2001). Her research has also been published in a wide range of journals and edited volumes and supported by the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, Demos: A Network of Ideas and Action, the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University, and The Graduate Center’s Advanced Research Collaborative. She was formerly at Northwestern University, where she was a professor of sociology and political science (courtesy), as well as a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research.

While most of McCall’s published research to date focuses on inequality within the U.S. using existing survey data, her recently published and ongoing research branches out to incorporate other countries and new methodological approaches, including: studies of rising economic inequality among families and declining gender inequality using new demographic measures; media coverage of economic inequality since the 1980s using new machine learning tools; and public views about inequality, opportunity, and redistribution using survey experimental methods and new questions fielded on major international surveys. McCall also maintains an interest in the conceptualization and empirical analysis of intersectionality from a social science perspective.

John McCormackJohn W. McCormack, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religion and History
Aurora University
Research Areas: Early Modern Religious History (especially in France and its empire), Religion and Popular Culture

John McCormack is a historian based in Chicago and teaches history and religious studies at Aurora University. He holds B.A. and M.A.R. degrees from Yale University and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Notre Dame. Current research projects focus on the writings of early modern Jesuit Alexandre de Rhodes (1593-1660); violence and historical memory in the French Wars of Religion (c. 1540s-c. 1640s); and intersections of religion and secularism in contemporary television narrative. He teaches a wide range of courses on world history, Latin American history, historical methods, theories of religion, contemporary spiritualities, and historical intersections of religion and politics. Many of his courses engage students in “Reacting to the Past” role-playing games. He is committed to pursuit of innovative pedagogies, grading reform, and improved student mental health.

Liz McKenna, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Harvard Kennedy School, Faculty Affiliate of the Department of Sociology
Harvard University
Research areas: Social movements, political organizing, civil society, democratization/autocratization

Liz McKenna, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research and teaching centers on social movements, political terrain shifts, and left and right-wing civic engagement in the United States and Brazil. Liz is the co-author of two books on democratic organizing. Prisms of the People: Power and Organizing in 21st Century America (University of Chicago Press, 2021) examines how organizational leaders build constituency bases that successfully exercise political power. Her first book, Groundbreakers: How Obama’s 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America (Oxford University Press, 2014), analyzed how parties and campaigns interact with — and sometimes act as — social movements. Her dissertation received the 2021 American Sociological Association’s Best Dissertation Award and is the basis of her current book project. Prior to Harvard Kennedy School, Liz was a postdoctoral scholar at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. Her research has been supported by the Democracy and Power Innovation Fund, the Lemann Foundation, Fulbright and the National Science Foundation. Prior to graduate school, Liz worked as a community organizer in Ohio and Rio de Janeiro. She earned a B.A. in social studies from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Bronwen McShea, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor of History
Augustine Institute Graduate School
Research areas: Early modern Catholicism, global missions, Jesuit studies, women, the laity and ecclesial governance

Bronwen McShea is an historian based in New York City. She received her B.A. in History and M.T.S. in the History of Christianity from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Early Modern European History from Yale University. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the Augustine Institute in Denver and serves as an Advisory Editor for the Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu in Rome. She is the author of three books: Apostles of Empire: The Jesuits and New France (Nebraska, 2019), La Duchesse: The Life of Marie de Vignerot, Cardinal Richelieu’s Forgotten Heiress Who Shaped the Fate of France (Pegasus, 2023), and Women of the Church: What Every Catholic Should Know (Ignatius, 2024; forthcoming). Her writings have also appeared in a range of scholarly and popular publications, including the Sixteenth Century Journal, the Journal of Jesuit Studies, American Catholic Studies, First Things, and The Wall Street Journal. She has held research positions with Princeton University’s James Madison Program, Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religion, and the Leibniz Institut für Europäische Geschichte in Mainz, Germany, and she has also taught at the University of Nebraska Omaha, Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, and Columbia University.

Pavle Mijović, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
University of Sarajevo
Research Areas: Philosophy, migration studies, political philosophy, peace studies

Pavle Mijović is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Sarajevo – Catholic Faculty of Theology. He graduated in 2008 from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome with a bachelor’s in theology. His master’s and doctoral degrees are both in philosophy with highest honors from the Faculty of Philosophy – Pontifical Lateran University. In 2011, he earned master’s degree in peace building management at the Pontifical Seraphicum University in Rome. Between 2012 and 2013, he gained diplomatic experience by working as a technical secretary at the Embassy of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Rome. His research focuses on philosophy, migration and peace studies.

Gustavo Morello, S.J., Ph.D.
Sociology Departement
Boston College
Research areas: Religion in Latin America, Secularization, Lived Religion, Religious practices, use of photographs, tattoos.

Gustavo Morello, S.J., Ph.D., is a Jesuit priest and professor of sociology at Boston College. He earned his Ph.D. from the Universidad de Buenos Aires, and an M.A. in Social Sciences from Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. He taught at Univesidad Católica de Cordoba (1997-2011), was visiting scholar at University of Michigan (2009-2010), PI of the research project ‘The transformation of lived religion in urban Latin America: a study of contemporary Latin Americans’ experience of the transcendent’ (2015-2018), and gave The D’Arcy Lectures, at Campion Hall, University of Oxford, UK (2019). Rev. Morello studies the Latin American religious landscape, exploring how modernity impacts faith practices. His latest books are Religion in Latin America. An Enchanted Modernity (OUP, 2021) and The Catholic Church and Argentina’s Dirty War (OUP, 2015).

Anna María Nogar, Ph.D.
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
University of New Mexico
Research areas: Mexican American cultural and literary studies; colonial Mexican writing and communities of reading; New Mexico, its literature and culture, and bilingual and community-based oral history.

Anna M. Nogar, Ph.D., is professor of hispanic southwest studies in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico. She has published extensively domestically and abroad on colonial Mexican literature and communities of readers, as well as Mexican American cultural and literary studies, focusing on New Mexico. She is the author of several volumes, including Quill and Cross in the Borderlands: Sor María de Ágreda, 1628- the Present (University of Notre Dame 2018), A History of Mexican Literature (Cambridge 2016), Colonial Itineraries of Contemporary Mexico: Literary and Cultural Inquiries (University of Arizona 2014), and El feliz ingenio neomexicano: The Life and Writing of Felipe M. Chacón (University of New Mexico 2021). She co-authored the prizewinning bilingual young reader’s book Sisters in Blue/Hermanas de azul (University of New Mexico 2017), based on 17th-century nun Sor María de Jesús de Ágreda. Dr. Nogar’s A History of Mexican Poetry and A History of the Mexican Novel (both from Cambridge University Press) are forthcoming.

David J. O’Brien, Ph.D.
Professor of History and Loyola Professor of Catholic Studies, both emeritus
Department of History
College of the Holy Cross
Research areas: Catholicism in the United States and Catholic social and political thought and action

David J. O’Brien, Ph.D., is professor of History and Loyola Professor of Catholic Studies, both emeritus, in the Department of History at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He earned his Ph.D. from Rochester University. A renowned Catholic historian, his books include American Catholics and Social Reform: The New Deal YearsThe Renewal of American Catholicism, Renewing the Earth: Catholic Documents on Peace, Justice and Liberation, Faith and Friendship: Catholicism in the Diocese of Syracuse, 1886-1986,  Public Catholicism and Isaac Hecker: An American Catholic.

Manuel Pastor, Ph.D.

Manuel Pastor, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor, Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity
Director, USC Dornsife Equity Research Institute
University of Southern California
Research areas: The economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities.

Dr. Manuel Pastor is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He currently directs the Equity Research Institute at USC. Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC.

Dr. Nancy Pineda-Madrid, Ph.D.
Professor and T. Marie Chilton Chair of Catholic Theology
Department of Theological Studies & President Elect, Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA)
Loyola Marymount University
Research areas: Soteriology (redemption, atonement, theosis, liberation); problem of evil and violence; social suffering; feminist theologies (U.S. & Global South); U.S. Latinax theologies; North American pragmatism and religious thought, religious symbols

Nancy Pineda-Madrid holds the T. Marie Chilton Chair of Catholic Theology at Loyola Marymount University, where she has taught since 2019. Previously, she taught at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry from 2005-2019. She earned a Ph.D. in systematic and philosophical theology from the Graduate Theological Union. She has published two monographs: Suffering and Salvation in Ciudad Juárez (Fortress, 2011), the first book to offer a theological interpretation of suffering and salvation in the shadow of the tragic killing of women known as feminicide, and her more recent book, Theologizing in an Insurgent Key: Violence, Women, Salvation (Paulist Press, 2022), which develops further groundwork for a reinterpretation of salvation. Her current book project will offer a fresh reading of the theological symbol of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is co-editor of two additional volumes: Hope: Promise, Possibility, and Fulfillment (Paulist Press, 2013) and The Holy Spirit: Setting the World on Fire (Paulist Press, 2017). She is president-elect of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA), the largest professional society of Catholic theologians in the world. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Larry Gordon and she has two grown step-children.

A photo of USC art History professor Lisa PonLisa Pon, Ph.D.
Professor of Art History
Collaborations in History, Art, Religion, and Music (CHARM)
USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Research areas: Renaissance art, architecture and visual culture, temporality and the material object, transmedial images in motion, implications of sensory input beyond the visual and the phenomenology of ritual

Lisa Pon, Ph.D., studies the mobilities of art, artistic authority and collaboration, and the Renaissance concept of copia or abundance. She wrote two books, Raphael, Dürer and Marcantoni Raimondi: Copying and the Italian Renaissance Print (Yale, 2004; e-pub 2021) and Printed Icon: Forlì’s Madonna of the Fire (Cambridge, 2015; ppk 2022), and is co-editor/-author of three additional volumes. Currently, she is preparing a special issue of Arts journal, co-edited with Kate van Orden, and two other book projects. One book manuscript examines fears about contagion, both biological and moral, in early modern Venice. The other project explores artistic collaboration in the Renaissance, especially across media. Pon’s research has been supported by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Renaissance Society of America, the College Art Association, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Getty Research Institute, and the Warburg Institute, among other entities. She leads the collective Collaborations in History, Art, Religion, and Music which fosters scholarship and community across disciplines, and a NEH-sponsored interdisciplinary digital humanities project, Bibliotheca Iulia Instaurata = Immersive Raphael Project, that recreates the experience of reading Pope Julius II’s books in their intended setting, the Stanza della Segnatura painted by Raphael. In spring 2024, she becomes Art History’s director of undergraduate studies.

Bernard G. Prusak, Ph.D.
Raymond & Eleanor Smiley Chair in Business Ethics
Boler College of Business
John Carroll University
Research areas: Catholic social thought, organizational ethics, practical ethics (business ethics and bioethics), and public philosophy

Bernard Prusak holds the Raymond & Eleanor Smiley Chair in Business Ethics at John Carroll University. Much of his work can be described as public philosophy: he brings the conceptual tools and analytical style of philosophy to bear on questions of public interest and concern in the worlds of business, medicine, and the church.

He is the author of two books: Parental Obligations and Bioethics: The Duties of a Creator (Routledge, 2013) and Catholic Moral Philosophy in Practice and Theory: An Introduction (Paulist, 2016). Together with Dr. Jennifer Reed-Bouley, he edited the volume Catholic Higher Education and Catholic Social Thought (Paulist, 2023). He has published dozens of articles in academic journals, and his criticism and public scholarship appear frequently in Commonweal and National Catholic Reporter. He also contributed to the IACS project on the growth of religious non-affiliation, culminating in the volume Empty Churches (Oxford, 2021), edited by James L. Heft, SM and Jan E. Stets.

Mark Schroeder
Professor of Philosophy
School of Philosophy
University of Southern California
Research areas: ethics, epistemology, persons and conflict

Mark Schroeder is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California, where he is the founding director of the Conceptual Foundations of Conflict Project. He is the author of seven books, including Slaves of the Passions (Oxford, 2007) and Reasons First (Oxford, 2021), and of over 100 articles in philosophy. His research has covered questions about the nature of morality and moral thought and language, the nature of knowledge and the norms governing rational and ethical belief, and the nature of persons and what that reveals about the structure and dynamics of interpersonal relationships and interpersonal conflict. He is currently at work on two book projects. The first of these develops a theory of interpretive objects and applies it to words, literature, persons, the law, and other forms of meaning. And the second explores the role in interpersonal conflicts of a certain kind of interpretive mismatch in how we understand one another as persons.

Jenny Shank
Affiliate Faculty in Creative Writing, Mile High MFA Program
Regis University
Instructor, Lighthouse Writers Workshop
Research areas: contemporary fiction, nonfiction and humor.

Jenny Shank’s story collection Mixed Company won the George Garrett Fiction prize and the Colorado Book Award in General Fiction, and her novel The Ringer won the High Plains Book Award and was a finalist for the Reading the West Award. Her stories, essays, satire, and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Onion, Poets & Writers, Prairie Schooner, Alaska Quarterly Review, Cincinnati Review, The Toast, Image, Barrelhouse, The McSweeney’s Book of Politics and Musicals (Vintage, 2012), Dear McSweeney’s: Twenty-Two Years of Letters from McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern (McSweeney’s, 2021), Love In The Time of Time’s Up (Tortoise Books, 2022), and Reading Colorado: A Literary Road Guide (Bower House, 2023), and We Can See Into Another Place: Mile-High Writers on Social Justice (BookBar Press, 2024). Her work has been honorably mentioned by The Best American Essays, the Pushcart Prize anthology and her mother. She is a longtime book critic and member of the National Book Critics Circle. She teaches in the Mile High MFA program at Regis University and the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. She writes a monthly free newsletter, The Tumbleweed, about writing, creativity, art, and inspiration:

Lucas Sharma, S.J.
Graduate Student
Department of Sociology
University of California, San Diego
Research areas: Cultural Sociology, Gender, Sexuality, Catholicism, Michel Foucault and Jesuit Higher Education

Lucas Sharma, S.J., is a doctoral student at the University of California San Diego. He has an master’s in sociology (2012) from Loyola University Chicago, and a master’s in philosophy (2017) from Fordham University, and an M.Div. (2022) from Santa Clara University. Additionally, Lucas taught sociology as a lecturer at Seattle University and a research fellow at Seattle University’s Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture between 2017 and 2019. He has served as a trustee for Seattle University since 2019 and he currently chairs the Mission Integration Committee as well as serves on the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. Lucas’s intellectual interests in Catholicism focus on the gender and sexuality in the United States Church. Currently, he is examining how LGBTQ+ and Catholic individuals negotiate messages from the Church about sexuality. Lucas is also a Jesuit priest of the Jesuits West Province.

Kathleen Tarr

Kathleen Tarr
Independent Scholar
Research areas: Thomas Merton

Kathleen Tarr is a long-time Alaskan who lives and writes in Anchorage. She is the author of We Are All Poets Here, a memoir about her spiritual journey with Alaska, Russia, and Thomas Merton. Her writing has appeared in anthologies, newspapers, and in literary journals such as Alaska Quarterly Review, the Sewanee Review, and Creative Nonfiction. As a Merton scholar, Kathleen is a frequent speaker and lecturer on Merton’s life and legacy. She has presented in New York City, Santa Clara University; the University of Silesia, Poland; Pittsburgh; St. Regis University, Denver; and in the U.K. She has been a featured speaker on the podcast series, “Tuesdays With Merton.” Her essays and poetry have been included in Merton & World’s Indigenous Wisdom; We Are Already One (edited by Jonathan Montaldo); and the peer-reviewed, Merton Seasonal.

Kathleen formerly worked as the founding program coordinator of the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has served as a governor-appointee on the board of the Alaska Humanities Forum. She is active with the International Thomas Merton Society and is currently serving in her second term as a an ITMS board member. Kathleen is a member of PEN America, 49 Writers, and the Alaska Historical Society. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She was selected as a Mullin Scholar at USC’s IACS as part of the national cohort of writers. Presently, she is at work on her second book, Mountains of Contemplation.

Debora Tonelli

Debora Tonelli, Ph.D.
Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs
Georgetown University
Research areas: Political Philosophy, Biblical Studies, religion and violence

Debora Tonelli is Georgetown University’s representative in Rome and a research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at the same University. She is also a permanent researcher at FBK-ISR and an invited lecturer in Political Philosophy and Politics and Religion at the Pontifical Athenaeum of Saint Anselm,  and in Religion, Violence and Religious Freedom at Gregoriana University. Her background is in political philosophy (Ph.D. 2005, in Rome and Frankfurt, Germany) and Theology (Ph.D. 2012, Münster, Germany), her current research and teaching activities are focused on the interaction between those two main fields, specifically inside the wider context of interreligious dialogue, with a key focus on the relationship between violence and biblical religions, and the influence of literary images in the construction process of “religious imagery” supporting a violent conception of divinity and justifying violence in the name of God. Her publications include: Exiting Violence: The Role of Religion (De Gruyter 2024) (co-edited with Gerard Mannion); Fra kósmos e pólis: identità e cittadinanza da una prospettiva Mediterranea, (Jouvence, Milan 2023) and Fratelli tutti? Credenti e non credenti in dialogo con Papa Francesco (Castelvecchi, Roma 2022).

Kenneth WaldKenneth D. Wald, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science and Samuel R. “Bud” Shorstein Professor Emeritus of American Jewish Society and Culture
Political Science
University of Florida
Research areas: Religion and political behavior, religion and politics in advanced industrial societies, cultural differences and social movements in public life, Judaism and politics

Kenneth D. Wald specializes in the study of religion and politics. His most recent book is The Foundations of American Jewish Liberalism, published by Cambridge University Press and winner of the 2020 National Jewish Book Award in American Jewish Studies. Apart from lecturing around the world, Wald has published 60 articles in refereed journals and numerous essays in edited volumes. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard, the University of Michigan, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Haifa University, the University of Manchester, Strathclyde University in Scotland, Linnaeus University in Sweden, and Fudan University in Shanghai. In 2015, he was the Shier Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Tannenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto; three years later, he was named the Hallsworth Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester. In 2011, he received the University of Florida Teacher-Scholar of the Year award, the highest honor conferred on a faculty member. Upon his retirement in 2016, the Religion and Politics section of the American Political Science Associated created the Kenneth D. Wald Best Graduate Student Paper Award, recognizing his mentoring and commitment to supporting graduate student research.

Galen Watts, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Sociology and Legal Studies
University of Waterloo
Research Areas: sociology of religion/spirituality, cultural sociology and social theory

Galen Watts is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology and Legal Studies department at the University of Waterloo. Between 2020-2022 he was a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow based jointly at KU Leuven and the University of Toronto. His research focuses on cultural and institutional change in liberal democracies since the 1960s, with a focus on the spheres of religion, morality, work, and politics. His first book, The Spiritual Turn: The Religion of the Heart and the Making of Romantic Liberal Modernity, published in 2022 by Oxford University Press, won the 2023 Society for the Study of Religion’s Distinguished Book Award. He has published articles in venues such as Journal of the American Academy of Religion, American Journal of Cultural Sociology, Civic Sociology, The Sociological Review, and European Journal of Social Theory. You can find out more about him and his work at:

A photo of IACS President Rich Wood
Richard L. Wood, Ph.D.
Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies
USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences (and on leave as Professor of Sociology from the University of New Mexico)
Research areas: Sociologist of religion and democracy, democratic theory, and specialist on faith-based community organizing and public Catholicism.

Richard L. Wood, Ph.D., is the president of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC. He was raised in Los Alamos, N.M. and originally studied chemistry, later theology and sociology (Berkeley Ph.D. 1995). He is the author or co-author of several dozen scholarly articles and book chapters on social movements, the sociology of religion, political sociology, and democratic theory, many of them focusing on faith-based/broad-based community organizing efforts as case studies or for quantitative data analysis. He is the author of Faith in Action: Religion, race, and democratic organizing in America (University of Chicago Press, 2002; named best book of 2002 by Religion Section of the American Sociological Association) and co-author (with Brad Fulton) of A Shared Future: Faith-Based Organizing for Racial Equity and Ethical Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2015; named best book of 2015 by Association for Research on Non-Profits and Voluntary Action). He serves as co-editor of the book series Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion, and Politics at Cambridge University Press, and previously served as faculty president, senior vice provost, and interim provost at UNM.

Grace Yukich, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Quinnipiac University
Research areas: Religion, race, immigration and social movements.

Grace Yukich, Ph.D., is a sociologist with expertise in religion, immigration, race, and social movements. Her newest book, Religion Is Raced: Understanding American Religion in the Twenty-first Century (New York University Press, co-edited with Penny Edgell), calls on sociologists, religious studies scholars, pollsters, and journalists to recognize the inextricability of religion and race in the United States. Her first book, One Family Under God: Immigration Politics and Progressive Religion in America (Oxford University Press), chronicles religious activists offering sanctuary in houses of worship, working both for immigration reform and for a more progressive, global vision of what it means to be religious in America. In addition to her books, Dr. Yukich has published award-winning journal articles and frequently gives public lectures on her research. Her writing has also appeared in popular media outlets such as Salon and the Hartford Courant, and she has been quoted in outlets such as The Washington Post and the National Catholic Reporter. Dr. Yukich is currently president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion and the chair of the American Sociological Association’s Religion Section, and is a national research fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture.

Brad Vermurlen, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology
Calvin University
Research areas: Religion in the U.S., social and political theory, culture, Christian thought and the philosophy of social science.

Brad Vermurlen, Ph.D., is a social scientist whose work takes an interdisciplinary approach to the moral, cultural, and religious aspects of the late-modern world, especially in the United States. His book, Reformed Resurgence: The New Calvinist Movement and the Battle Over American Evangelicalism (Oxford University Press, 2020) explains the social construction of the neo-Reformed movement and what it reveals about evangelical Christianity in hyper-modern contexts. His other published research has covered topics such as the state of the Catholic Church in the U.S. using survey data from priests, the intentional management of cultural marginality, and public opinion about the medicalization of gender dysphoria among adolescents. Brad’s research has received coverage in several outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Catholic News Agency/National Catholic Register, The Washington Post, National Catholic Reporter, World Magazine, Religion News Service, and The New York Times. Additionally, his shorter writing has been featured in Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute. From 2019 to 2022, Brad participated in the Generations in Dialogue Program at the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at USC.

Andrew WhiteheadAndrew Whitehead, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, co-Director of the Association of Religion Data Archives
Sociology Department and the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Research areas: Christian nationalism, religion, politics, disability

Andrew Whitehead is an associate Professor of sociology and director of the Association of Religion Data Archives at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI. Whitehead is one of the foremost scholars of Christian nationalism in the United States. He is the author of American Idolatry: How Christian Nationalism Betrays the Gospel and Threatens the Church, which released August 2023 from Brazos Press. He is the lead author of  Taking America Back for God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (Oxford University Press, 2020)—along with Samuel Perry—which won the 2021 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Whitehead serves as co-director of the Association of Religion Data Archives. The ARDA is the world’s largest online religion data archive and is currently funded through generous support from the Lilly Endowment and the John Templeton Foundation. Whitehead serves on the Board of Directors of the Public Religion Research Institute and the Religion Research Association. Over his career, Whitehead has served as Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator on external research grants totaling over $6.8 million.