I am interested in religion as a broad and complex social and cultural phenomenon that both generates law and is regulated by law. My particular research focus is in understanding the phenomenology of religion under the modern rule of law. I have training in law and in religious studies and have taught both in law school and in religious studies departments.
My training in the academic study of religion is in two fields, American religious history and the comparative study of religion.
I am the author of three books analyzing legal discourses about religion in the context of actions brought to enforce the religion clauses of the First Amendment and related legislation: Paying the Words Extra: Religious Discourse in the Supreme Court of the United States (Harvard 1994), The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton 2005), and Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution (Princeton 2009).
At Indiana I teach courses on religion and law, the politics of religious freedom, the history and phenomenology of Christmas as a church/state event, the trial of Joan of Arc, and contemporary theories of religion.
Her research interests include the intersection of law and religion in the modern period, the phenomenology of modern religion as it is shaped in its encounter with law, comparative study of religion and the law, and anthropology of law.