our directors


 

Sacred Writes grew out of an inaugural ACLS/Luce Religion, Journalism, and International Affairs grant awarded to Northeastern University in 2016 that supported collaborations between journalists and religious studies scholars. During that project, Liz Bucar and Megan Goodwin began discussing the sorts of skills scholars need in order to communicate with audiences outside the academy as well as to incentivize creative collaborations between scholars and media outlets. And the idea for Sacred Writes was born.

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LIZ BUCAR
Principle Investigator for Sacred Writes
Associate Professor of Religion
Dean’s Leadership Fellow at Northeastern University

Bucar is the Principle Investigator for Sacred Writes, Associate Professor of Religion, and Dean’s Leadership Fellow at Northeastern University. An expert in comparative religious ethics who has published on topics ranging from gender reassignment surgery to the global politics of modest clothing, Bucar’s current book project is on the ethics of religious appropriation. She is the author of three books and two edited collections, including the award-winning trade book, Pious Fashion: How Muslim Women Dress (Harvard University Press, 2017). Bucar’s public scholarship includes bylines in The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Times, Teen Vogue, and Zocalo Public Square as well as several podcasts. She has a PhD in religious ethics from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School. Follow her on Twitter @BucarLiz.

 
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MEGAN GOODWIN
Program Director for Sacred Writes
Visiting Lecturer with Northeastern’s Philosophy and Religion Department

Goodwin is the Program Director for Sacred Writes and a Visiting Lecturer with Northeastern’s Philosophy and Religion Department. Working at the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, and American politics, Goodwin’s current research centers on Islamophobia, white supremacy, American minority religions (not cults!), and popular culture. Her first book, Abusing Religion: Narrative Persecution, Sex Scandals, and American Minority Religions, is under contract with Rutgers University Press. Her public scholarship has appeared in the Maydan, the Bulletin for the Study of Religion, Religion Dispatches, and several podcasts. She is a former Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow for Creative and Innovative Pedagogy in the Humanities, and her teaching has been featured in Women in Higher Education and Elle. She has a PhD in religion and American culture from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Follow her on Twitter @mpgphd.

 

our leadership team

This Group of diverse scholars have demonstrated their commitment to producing and promoting public scholarship on religion. Collectively, they represent decades of knowledge and experience in communicating with non-specialists. During the life of the grant, our Leadership Team will help shape the summer training retreats and develop best practices for translating the significance and intellectual rigor of public scholarship to academic institutions. 


 

KELLY J. BAKER
Editor, Woment In Higher Educator

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Baker is the editor of Women in Higher Education and the author of the award-winning Gospel According to the Klan: The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930 (University Press of Kansas, 2011), as well as popular press books on gender and labor in academia and apocalypticism in American popular culture. She is a regular contributor to the Chronicle for Higher Education’s Vitae project, Killing the Buddha, and Sacred Matters on subjects pertaining to religion, higher education, gender, labor, motherhood, and popular culture. She earned her PhD in American religious history from Florida State University. Follow her on Twitter @kelly_j_baker.


 

ANTHEA BUTLER
Associate Professor of Religions Studies, University of Pennsylvania

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Butler’s career as a scholar, public intellectual, and professor embraces academy, the public and the church in various forms. From starting her public writing as a blogger for Religion Dispatches, she now writes opinion pieces on contemporary politics, religion, and race at The Guardian, Washington Post, and New York Times. She has also been a media commentator on religion politics and race on the BBC, MSNBC, CNN, and ABC. She has also served as a consultant to the PBS series God in America and the American Experience. A historian of American and African American religion, Professor Butler’s research and writing spans religion and politics, religion and gender, African American religion, sexuality, media, religion, and popular culture. Butler earned her PhD in religion from Vanderbilt. Follow her on Twitter @AntheaButler.


 

SHARON GROVES
Vice President for Partner Engagement, Auburn Seminary

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In her capacity as the vice president for partner engagement with Auburn Seminary, Groves fosters connections among justice-seeking organizations, leaders, and movements that display moral courage and faith commitments. She is the former director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program (2005-2014) and a former Auburn Seminary Senior Fellow. She earned her PhD in English Literature from the University of Maryland. Follow her on Twitter @SharonGr.


 

NYASHA JUNIOR
Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible, Temple University

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Junior holds a Ph.D. in biblical studies from Princeton Theological Seminary. She writes, teaches, speaks, and frequently tweets on race, gender, religion, and their intersections. She is the author of An Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation (Westminster John Knox Press, 2015), and her latest book, Reimagining Hagar: Blackness and Bible is forthcoming with in 2019 (Oxford University Press). She has contributed to The Washington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and Buzzfeed. Visit nyashajunior.com and follow her on Twitter @NyashaJunior.


 

MARY HUNT
Co-Founder and Co-Director, Women’s Alliance For Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (Water)

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Hunt co-founded the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER) in 1983 to foster collaboration and networking among ministers, activists, and scholars engaged in feminist work on religion. She is a feminist theologian and an active participant in the Roman Catholic women-church movement. She is the author of the award-winning Fierce Tenderness: A Feminist Theology of Friendship (Crossroad Publishing Company, 1991) and a regular contributor to publications including Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Concilium, Conscience, Religion Dispatches, and Mandragora. Hunt earned her from the Graduate Theological Union, her Masters in Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and her Masters in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Follow her on Twitter @MaryEHunt.


 

ELIZABETH SHAKMAN HURD
Professor of Political Science, Northwestern University

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Hurd’s work focuses on religion and politics, the politics of human rights and the right to religious freedom, the legal governance of religious diversity, US foreign relations, and the international politics of the Middle East. She is the author of The Politics of Secularism in International Relations (Princeton 2008) and Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion (Princeton 2015). She is Co-Principle Investigator, with Winnifred Sullivan, on a Luce-supported collaborative research project addressing the “Politics of Religion at Home and Abroad” (2016-2019). She earned her PhD in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. Follow her on Twitter @eshurd.


 

ERIK OWENS
Director, International Studies Program, Boston College

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In addition to his role as Boston College’s Director of the International Studies Program, Owens is an Associate Professor of the Practice in theology and international studies at Boston College. His work focuses on the challenge of fostering the common good of a religiously diverse society. He chairs the American Academy of Religion’s Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion and sits on the national advisory board of the Newseum Institute's Religious Freedom Center and the new InterReligious Institute at Chicago Theological Seminary. He previously served as Associate Director of Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Owens earned his PhD in Religious Ethics from the University of Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @erikowens.


 

OMID SAFI
Director, Duke Islamic Studies Center

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Safi is a Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University and the William and Bettye Martin Musham Director of the Duke Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in classical Islam and contemporary Islamic thought. Safi maintains a robust social media presence, including the podcast “Sufi Heart” for the BeHereNow Network and a weekly column for the On Being Project. Safi is a frequent contributor to popular media conversations on Islam, including in the New York Times, Al Jazeera, Washington Post, Religion News Service, BBC, NPR, MSNBC, and international media. Safi earned his PhD in Islamic Studies from Duke University. Follow him on Twitter @ostadjaan.


 

SIMRAN JEET SINGH
Luce Postdoctoral Fellow, NYU’s Center for Religion and Media

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Singh is a 2018 Luce/ACLS Fellow for Religion, Journalism, and International Affairs and a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Center for Religion and Media. He was the 2017-2018 Henry R. Luce Initiative in Religion in International Affairs Post-Doctoral Fellow, also at NYU. He is a columnist for Religion News Service, Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition, a board member for the Religion Newswriters Association, and a Truman National Security Fellow for the Truman National Security Project. His academic expertise focuses on the history of religious communities in South Asia. He is a frequent contributor to national and international news outlets as well as a consistent expert for television, radio, and print media. Singh earned his PhD in religion from Columbia University. Follow him on Twitter @SikhProf.


 

JUDITH WEISENFELD
Professor of Religion, Princeton University

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Weisenfeld is the Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion and Associate Faculty in the Center for African American Studies at Princeton University; she is also affiliated with the Department of African American Studies and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is an expert in American religious history, with emphasis on 20th century African American religious history; religion, race, and gender; and religion in American film and popular culture. She is the author of the award-winning New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration (NYU 2017), Hollywood Be Thy Name: African American Religion in American Film, 1929-1949 (University of California, 2007), and African American Women and Christian Activism: New York’s Black YWCA, 1905-1945 (Harvard 1997). Weisenfeld earned her PhD in Religion from Princeton University. Follow her on Twitter @JLWeisenfeld.