University of Southern California

Center for Religion & Civic Culture

Research Associates

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Tobin Belzer

Tobin Belzer is a sociologist of contemporary American Jewry. Her research and program evaluations have focused on Jewish identity, gender, Jewish organizational culture, Jewish teens and emerging adults, Jews with special needs, Jewish/Muslim relations, Jewish education, and congregational studies. Belzer

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Ran Boytner

Ran Boytner is the founding director of the Institute for Field Research (IFR). He is also co-founder of the Institute for Shared Heritage at USC. Dr. Boytner earned his Ph.D. from UCLA in 1998 and worked extensively in archaeological excavations

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Brad Christerson

Brad Christerson is associate professor of sociology at Biola University. He has written extensively in the areas of religion, race, ethnicity, and globalization. He is co-author of Growing Up in America: The Power of Race in the Lives of Teens

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Ryon J. Cobb

Ryon J. Cobb, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Scholar the Roybal Institute on Aging at the University of Southern California (USC). His research interests are minority health and aging, social epidemiology, social psychology, race and ethnic relations, and sociology of religion.

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Lynn Swartz Dodd

Lynn Swartz Dodd was awarded a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA in 2002. She currently is a faculty member in Religion at the University of Southern California and directs the Archaeology Research Center. Her archaeological projects

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Matt Gainer

Matt Gainer is a documentary photographer whose work explores social and political movements, religious identity and community, and tensions between people and the environments they occupy — with particular focus on California and the American West. He is currently working

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Macarena Gomez-Barris

Macarena Gomez-Barris (currently on leave from IRG) is associate professor of sociology and American studies and ethnicity. Her research interests focus on memory, culture, and power. Her book Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile, examines the memory

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Peter B. Gudaitis

Peter Gudaitis is currently serving as the chief response officer of New York Disaster Interfaith Services From 2003 to 2009 Mr. Gudaitis was the executive director and chief executive officer of New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS), NYDIS is a

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Martin H. Krieger

Martin Krieger, Ph.D., does social-science informed aural and photographic documentation of Los Angeles, including storefront houses of worship and industrial Los Angeles. He is also a research fellow of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture. Recently, Professor Krieger has

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Helen Land

Prior to joining the USC faculty in 1983, Helen Land was a psychiatric social worker and in-service coordinator, first with emotionally disturbed children and their families in residential treatment and later with abused, neglected and high-risk infants and their families.

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LaVonna Lewis

LaVonna Blair Lewis, Ph.D., MPH, is a Teaching Professor at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, and the Director of the USC Diversity in Healthcare Leadership Initiative. Dr. Lewis joined the USC faculty in 1996 and she was

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Eileen Luhr

Eileen Luhr is associate professor of history at California State University, Long Beach. Her work analyzes the intersection of religion, culture, and politics in the recent past. She is the author of Witnessing Suburbia: Conservatives and Christian Youth Culture (UC

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Nancy Lutkehaus

Nancy Lutkehaus is professor of anthropology, gender studies and political science at the University of Southern California. She is author or editor of five books, including Margaret Mead: The Making of an American Icon (Princeton University Press, 2009) and Zaria's

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Juan Martínez

Juan Martínez is associate provost for diversity and international programs, the academic director of the Hispanic Center and associate professor of Hispanic Studies and Pastoral Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is an ordained Mennonite Brethren pastor.

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Craig McGarvey

Craig McGarvey is an independent consultant working with philanthropic organizations throughout the United States. He served for a decade with The James Irvine Foundation, first as director of administration and then as program director of Irvine’s Program in Civic Culture.

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Paula McGee

Paula L. McGee is an alumna of USC and familiar speaker and guest lecturer on campus. She started her academic career at USC as a student-athlete. She is a member of the 1983-84 women’s basketball championship teams, and has a

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Lori Meeks

Lori Meeks is associate professor of religion and East Asian languages and cultures. Her current research is centered on the social and cultural history of Buddhism in Japanese history. Much of her work has focused on clarifying the roles of

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Joe Palacios

Joseph Palacios (Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Berkeley) is a sociologist presently working in the field of applied sociology in the areas of clinical and spiritual addiction and recovery programs. During 2013 he worked as a Spiritual Care Counselor at

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Megan Hibler Reid

Megan Reid is a visiting scholar at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture. Her areas of expertise include the history of Islamic law, religion and the body, women and the Islamic tradition, Sufi literature and practice, Islamic theology,

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Nadia Roumani

Nadia Roumani is the Co-Founder and Director of the American Muslim Civic Leadership Institute (AMCLI). Nadia has worked with a wide range of organizations over the past decade to better understand the needs of Muslim communities across the United States,

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Rhonda Roumani

Rhonda Roumani is a freelance journalist who has covered Islam and Muslim-related issues both in the U.S. and abroad. She has worked as a special correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and her articles have appeared in a number of

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Jonnie Russell

Jonnie Russell holds a masters in theology and philosophy from Fuller Theological Seminary where he focused his studies on postmodern philosophical engagements with theology, religion and science, and theology and culture. His recent academic presentations have focused on neuroscience, religion,

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Rebecca Sager

Rebecca Sager is currently an associate professor of sociology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Her first book Faith, Politics and Power (Oxford 2010), examines the role of conservative evangelical movements in state implementation of faith based initiatives. Rebecca

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Jason Sexton

Jason S. Sexton is a systematic theologian with research interests lying at the intellectual crossroads of theology and culture, focusing on the nature of the church’s confession in its ecclesial contexts and in its variegated shapes in society. A fourth-generation

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Donna Spruijt-Metz

Dr. Donna Spruijt-Metz’ research focuses on pediatric obesity, and is particularly concerned with understanding how Health modalities can be harnessed to influence psychosocial, metabolic and environmental factors to treat and prevent childhood obesity. She holds four master's degrees; two in

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Michelle Stewart Thomas

Michelle “Mica” Stewart Thomas is an applied sociologist specializing in interventions designed to enhance the lives of clergy, couples, women, and people of color. Her current research centers on clergy family life and clergy mental health. Her most recent research

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Daniel E. Walker

Dr. Daniel E. Walker is a Research Associate with the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California, Board Chair of the BLU Educational Foundation, and the President/CEO of Perfect Works, a consulting firm that uses

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Justin Wilford

Justin Wilford, Ph.D, is a cultural geographer whose work focuses on the ways social meaning is constructed and maintained in post-metropolitan, post-suburban space. His work has centered on religious practices and performances in contemporary post-suburban megachurches. He is the

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Ann Marie Yamada

Ann Marie Yamada is associate professor of social work at the University of Southern California. Her work is centered on Asian American culture, faith based communities and community mental health services. Her research program involves collaboration with community leaders to

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Ann Marie Yasin

Ann Marie Yasin (currently on leave from IRG) specializes in Roman and late antique art and material culture and holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Classics and Art History. Her primary research interests include monuments and commemoration; social

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