The SSRC’s Religion and the Public Sphere Program, with support from the Henry Luce Foundation, hosted a weeklong Summer Institute for Early-Career Scholars from July 26–August 1, 2021. Sixteen early-career scholars conducting research on the ways in which religion intersects with two critical public issues—social justice movements and environmental crises–participated in this hybrid-format event, with attendees participating from Santa Fe, NM and virtually from around the world.

Through discussions led by senior scholars and unstructured time for reading, writing, and reflection, the Institute provided an intensive but informal setting for cross-disciplinary dialogue, exploring research design, presenting research findings, and networking with peers concerned with the ways in which religious ideas, practices, actors, institutions, and movements engage the public sphere. In addition to separate sessions for each of the two themes, in which participants engaged with others working within their theme, participants joined in shared plenary sessions focused more broadly on the role of religion in the public sphere, including conducting publicly engaged work and writing.

In addition to the Religion program staff, the Summer Institute was organized by a team of four faculty facilitators: Richard Wood (Professor of Sociology, University of New Mexico) and Jonathan Tran (Associate Professor of Religion, Baylor University) for the religion and social justice movements theme; Mayanthi Fernando (Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz) and Evan Berry (Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities, University of Arizona) for the religion, spirituality, and environmental crises theme.


Rebecca Bartel
Religion, San Diego State University

Emma Bloomfield
Communication Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Norah Elmagraby
Islamic Civilizations Studies, Emory University

Seth Gaiters
Philosophy and Religion, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Matthew Harris
Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Mohamad Jarada
Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

Dana Lloyd
Global Interdisciplinary Studies, Villanova University

Alessandro Morosin
Sociology, DePauw University

Amanda Nichols
Religion and Nature, University of Florida

Milad Odabaei
Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies, Princeton University

Miray Philips
Sociology, University of Minnesota

Jessica Madison Pískatá
Anthropology, Oberlin College

Yuridia Ramirez
History, University of Illinois

J.T. Roane
African and African American Studies, Arizona State University

Jeremy Sorgen
Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley

Haleema Welji
Duke Thompson Writing Program, Duke University