My research focuses on atheism, secularism, and the meaning of religion. Most recently, I have published on Saba Mahmood’s contribution to the study of religion, Karl Marx’s forgotten secularism, genealogy’s bad blood, and the many things we mean when we talk about belief. My ongoing projects include an intergenerational study of religion, spirituality, and values, funded by the John Templeton Foundation; a monograph on organized nonbelievers in the United States, under contract with NYU Press; and a survey of those who join communities for nonbelievers. I have also conducted research among born-again Christians in America and Zambia, especially Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I continue to be interested in how evangelicals and nonbelievers imagine one another.
This review essay at Public Books gives my perspective on atheism and how to study it.
You can listen to me being interviewed about the many meanings of “secularism” by clicking here, you can watch a video in which I discuss my research on organized nonbelievers by clicking here, and you can hear a presentation on Marx and the Epicurean tradition that I gave at the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion by clicking here. Below you’ll find links to pre-publication copies of most of my recent scholarship.
- “Remembering Marx’s Secularism.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 88:1 (March 2020): 35–57.
- “Self-Critique and Moral Ground: Saba Mahmood’s Contribution to Remaking Secularism and the Study of Religion.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 87:4 (December 2019): 941–954.
- “Secularism and Secular People.” Public Culture 30:2 (May 2018): 245-268.
- “Atheists in the Pantheon.” Review essay of Leigh Schmidt’s Village Atheists. Public Books. Published on August 14, 2017.
- “The Limits of Religious Indifference.” In Religious Indifference: New Perspectives From Studies on Secularization and Nonreligion, edited by Johannes Quack and Cora Schuh. (New York: Springer), 2017.
- “Secularism, Humanism, and Secular Humanism: Terms and Institutions.” In The Oxford Handbook of Secularism, edited by Phil Zuckerman and John Shook (New York: Oxford University Press), 2017.
- “The Social Context of Organized Nonbelief: County-Level Predictors of Nonbeliever Organizations in the United States.” Co-authored with Alfredo García, Princeton University. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 55:1 (March 2016): 70-90.
- “The Political Advantages of a Polysemous Secular.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 53:4 (December 2014): 775-790.
- “No Part of the World: How Jehovah’s Witnesses Perform the Boundaries of Their Community.” ARC 37, (January 1, 2009): 197-211.
- RG ST 13: Religion and Popular Culture
- RG ST 35: Introduction to Religion and Politics
- RG ST 104: Problems in the Study of Religion
- RG ST 144A: Atheism
- RG ST 152: Religion in America Today
- RG ST 200A: Proseminar in the History and Theory of Religion
- RG ST 239: Secularism
- RG ST 243M: Materialism
- RG ST 280A: Methods in the Study of Religion