I am a cultural and historical anthropologist of religion. I am especially interested in the many different histories, cultural practices, and social effects of Christianity in the world. My work uses lenses from feminist theory and material religion studies to trace the interplay of gendered bodies, spaces, and words in particular social situations.
My first book, Mission Station Christianity (2013), examined how place-making practices on and around new "mission stations" shaped understandings of Christianity, gender, and race in colonial Southern Africa. My current book project has the provisional working title Women and Words in Christianity. It explores the often problematic connection between "women" and "words." I focus on a case study of the so-called "mission feminists" in early-twentieth-century Norway - a group of women who used new language practices (new ways of speaking, listening, reading, and writing) to advocate for women's greater status in Christian organizations, with a variety of contradictory effects. I have also begun a new line of research on reading.
I teach at the University of Georgia, where my classes include an introductory class on "religions of the world," and upper-level classes on women in Christian history, and women in world religions.
Women and words
Mission station Christianity
How does Christian place-making affect how Christianity is practiced? How does it affect ideas about gendered and racialized bodies within those spaces?
Setting: Norwegian mission stations in Southern Africa during the time of British colonial expansion.
Reading: Subject, scholars, students
How do understandings of reading as a research subject relate to how we use reading as a scholarly method in our work and to how we teach discipline-specific reading to students in our university classes? In addition to exploring the role that reading plays in my historical case studies and in my own method, I have also begun conducting classroom (SOTL) studies of student reading.