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Religious Life in American Prison

Story imageA Crossroads of Religion and Politics Lunchtime Discussion with Joshua Dubler, Assistant Professor of Religion at University of Rochester
This event is limited to Princeton University students and faculty, with priority given to WWS and CSR students.  Lunch is provided.  Space is limited. To RSVP, email

Audience: Princeton University students and faculty

Location: Robertson Hall, Bowl 016

Date/Time: 02/11/14 at 12:15 pm - 02/11/14 at 1:15 pm

Josh Dubler is Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester. He earned his PhD in religion from Princeton University, where he specialized in religion in America. His dissertation, written with the support of a prestigious Whiting Fellowship, was an ethnographic study of religious life in a maximum security prison in Pennsylvania. Josh analyzed the ways in which religion is defined and practiced within the confines of a prison not only to give a description of the activities in the chapel, but also to raise larger questions about how religion is defined (for example, by legal and political authorities) and about how it contributes to the formation of various social identities. Josh then went to Columbia University as a multiyear member of the Society of Fellows in the Humanities. During this time he drew on his dissertation to write an important book, Down in The Chapel, about a week in the prison chapel, published in 2013 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Josh has particular expertise in African-American religions and in Islam in America. His next projects include research on the parallel history of two new religious groups that emerged in prisons in 1970, the New World of Islam and the Church of the New Song, as well as research on the conceptualization of guilt in recent American life. As part of the latter project, he is teaching a new course on guilt as revealed in the films of Alfred Hitchcock.

Photo courtesy of the University of Rochester

Category: Discussion

Department: Crossroads of Religion and Politics Lecture Series