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Chairs and Steering Committee


james_bennett James B. Bennett (Ph.D., Yale University) is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University, where he has taught since 2002. Previously, he taught at the University of Oklahoma. He also holds degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and UCLA (B.A. English/American Studies). He is the author of Religion and the Rise of Jim Crow in New Orleans (Princeton University Press, 2005). His current research focuses on the role of religion and race in the American West. 
quincy_newell Quincy D. Newell is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Wyoming, where she teaches courses on religion in America. Her first book, on Native Americans at Mission San Francisco de Asís during the Spanish colonial period, will be published by the University of New Mexico Press in fall 2009. Her next project, tentatively entitled Marginal Mormons: Second Class Saints in the Nineteenth-Century Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, focuses on the religious experiences of nineteenth-century African American and Native American Mormons. 

Steering Committee  

laura_maffly-kipp Laurie Maffly-Kipp has been at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 1989, where she is now an associate professor and chair of the Religious Studies department. She also holds an adjunct appointment in American Studies. She received her B.A. from Amherst College in English and religion, and her Ph.D. in American History from Yale University. She is the author or editor of numerous books and articles, including Religion and Society in Frontier California (1994), Practicing Protestants: Histories of Christian Life in America, 1630-1965 (2006), Proclamation to the People: Nineteenth-Century Mormonism and the Pacific Basin Frontier (2008), and a forthcoming volume on African American religious narratives, "God Requires of Us the Past": African American Communal Narratives, 1780-1920. Maffly-Kipp's current research concentrates on intercultural conflict, religions on the Pacific borderlands of North America, and the history of Mormonism. 
sara_patterson Sara M. Patterson is Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Hanover College, where she teaches courses in American Religious History and History of Christianity. She is the co-editor, with Fay Botham, of Race, Religion, Region: Landscapes of Encounter in the American West (2006). Her past research has focused largely on the communities of Latter-day Saints in the American West. Her current research examines several sacred sites in the American West. 
roberto_sagarena Roberto Lint Sagarena (Ph.D., Princeton University) is Assistant Professor of Religion and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. His book Arcadia and Aztlán: Religion, Ethnicity and the Creation of History, forthcoming from New York University Press, critically examines the crucial role that religion has played in expressions of ethnicity and the formation of Southern Californian regionalism in the aftermath of the Mexican-American war (1846-1848). His current work is focused on bringing to light the Mexican-American and Latino/a religious experience as a vital and significant part of the story of religion in America. 
tisa_wenger Tisa Wenger (Ph.D., Princeton University) is Assistant Professor of American Religious History at Yale Divinity School. Her research seeks to understand how culturally specific formations of religion and religious freedom have shaped the dynamics of religious encounter in the United States. Her publications include essays in History of Religions, Journal of the Southwest, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and several edited volumes. Her first book, We Have a Religion: The 1920s Pueblo Indian Dance Controversy and American Religious Freedom (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), shows how dominant conceptions of religion and religious freedom affected the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico as they sought to protect their religious ceremonies from government suppression, and how that struggle transformed the politics of Indian affairs and helped reshape mainstream views of religion. Her next book will develop a cultural history of religious freedom discourse in nineteenth and twentieth-century U.S. history, showing the limitations and sometimes ironic consequences of this foundational ideal. 


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