I am the Brooke Russell Astor Professor of the Humanities and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Brown. My work often pertains to the intersection of modern Western religious, political, and environmental thought, and it is as likely to engage poetry and literature as it is philosophy and critical theory. Among other things, this work entails attention to environmental humanities, environmental justice, and indigenous ecology. W.E. B. Du Bois has become central to my research on radical aesthetics (an aesthetics dedicated to social justice). I was named a Carnegie Scholar and have received research awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Endowments for the Humanities, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
I am a founding member of Environmental Humanities at Brown (EHAB) and am an active faculty member in Native American and Indigenous Studies at Brown. I am the author of Public Vision, Private Lives and A Communitarian Defense of Liberalism; and over sixty articles and chapters in edited books. I am the editor of Emile Durkheim’s Elementary Forms of the Religious Life and of Education and Punishment: Durkheim and Foucault.
After receiving my doctorate from Princeton University, where I studied philosophy and social theory as they relate to the field of religious studies, I taught at Stanford University and at Vassar College where I served as Chair for six years. I arrived at Brown University in 2004.
I have recently completed the book, In Search of a Course, my first memoir and trade book. I am currently working on the book project, Radical Romanticism: Religion, Democracy, and the Environmental Imagination.