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Visiting Fellows

2014-2015 Faith & Work Initiative Fellows


James Dennis LoRusso completed his PhD in American Religious Cultures at Emory University in Atlanta. His research focuses broadly on the intersection of religion, spirituality, and political economy in the United States. Drawing on ethnography, cultural history, and critical theory, his dissertation, entitled The Libertarian Ethic and the Spirit of Global Capital, asserts that interest in spirituality in the workplace has grown alongside and in relation to broad socio-economic changes over the last half century, with particular attention to globalization and the shift to a post-manufacturing economy. In addition to contributing to ongoing research at Princeton’s Faith and Work initiative, he will be investigating how an increasing number of American firms are incorporating practices such as “mindfulness meditation” into the workplace as a means to reduce employee stress, increase productivity, and improve morale.  


Michael J. Thate is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Princeton University. Prior to coming to Princeton, he was a Lecturer of New Testament Interpretation at Yale Divinity School as well as a Post-Doctoral Visiting Research Fellow at Yale where he worked on a kind of comparative sea mythology within Jewish, Greek, and Roman texts along with early Christian configurations of identity with respect to the sea. This research will be published in a forthcoming monograph, The Godman and the Sea. His research interests revolve around the formation and reception of discourses, particularly religious and scientific. His first book, Remembrance of Things Past?, is a social history of Leben-Jesu-Forschung during the 19th and 20th centuries. He is the editor of two projects to be published later this year: one on participation themes in antiquity and Paul; the other on the philosophical ethics of Albert Schweitzer. While at Princeton, Thate will be working with the Faith and Work Initiative where his research will be on conceptions of labor and status in antiquity and current post-Marxist theory. He received his PhD in Religious Studies and History of New Testament Interpretation from the University of Durham (U.K.).

Affliate Visiting Fellow

Gill Frank

Gillian Frank received his PhD from the Department of American Studies at Brown University. He recently completed an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellowship with the Department of History at Stony Brook University. Frank has published on the intertwined histories of religion, conservatism, sexuality and gender in the United States. His work has appeared in venues such as Gender and History, Journal of the History of Sexuality and Journal of Religion and Popular Culture.  He is currently working on a book project entitled Save Our Children: Sexual Politics and Cultural Conservatism in the United States, 1965-1990, which will be published with University of Pennsylvania Press.  Save Our Children explores the rise of political and religious conservatism between 1965 and 1990 by focusing on how social and political movements used the image of endangered children to redefine religious and civil rights and cultural mores. Frank is the editor and a regular contributor to NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality (, which is hoted by the Raphael Samuel History Centre and advances the Centre's mission of encouraging the widest accessibility and interest in the history of sexuality. Frank is also co-editing an anthology on Histories of Sexuality and Religion in the 20 th Century United States

Vernon C. Mitchell Jr.

Vernon C. Mitchell, Jr., completed his doctorate in American History at Cornell University in May 2014. His work primarily addresses the intersection of race, politics, and religion in America in the early decades of the twentieth century. His current project examines religious and political thought of African Americans during the famed Jazz Age. Through examining African-American religious thought during the earliest years of the Harlem Renaissance, Vernon is uncovering the role that African-American Protestantism played in the development of this cultural and intellectual awakening. His dissertation, “Jazz Age Jesus: The Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., and the Ministry of Black Empowerment, 1865-1937,” uses the Rev. Powell, Sr., as a lens to illustrate the many ways - both tangible and intangible - in which practiced and believed faith came into communion and consternation with one of the most famous secular movements in American history.

Previous Visiting Fellows