Lori G. Beaman, Principal Investigator

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Lori G. Beaman, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., is the Canada Research Chair in Religious Diversity and Social Change, and a Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa.

Her research interests include examining how nonreligious and religious people can coexist in an increasingly diverse and complex world; the concept of deep equality as an alternative to tolerance and accommodation in responding to religious diversity; and the idea of reclaiming enchantment as a way to reformulate our relationship with the environment and address issues of climate change and human/non-human animal relations.

Recent publications include The Transition of Religion to Culture in Law and Public Discourse (Routledge, 2020) and “Reclaiming Enchantment: The Transformational Possibilities of Immanence” Secularism and Nonreligion (2021).

Beaman is co-editor for the International Studies in Religion and Society (Brill); she is the senior editor of Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies (Springer); and is a member of the editorial board of the Religion and the Social Order book series (Brill) and the Religion, State and Society journal (Taylor & Francis). Beaman is the recipient of the 2017 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Impact Award in the Insight Category and holds an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University.

Further publications: She is the author of Deep Equality in an Era of Religious Diversity (Oxford University Press, 2017), which received the 2018 CSSR Book Prize and has been translated into Italian (Eguaglianza profunda in un’era di diversità religiosa, Ariele, 2018), and the co-author of Beyond Accommodation: Everyday Narratives of Muslim Canadians (University of British Columbia Press, 2018), with Jennifer A. Selby and Amélie Barras. Recent articles include “Religious Diversity in the Public Sphere: The Canadian Case,” Religions 8(12): 1-18, and “Living Well Together in a (non)Religious Future: Contributions from the Sociology of Religion,” Sociology of Religion, 78(1): 9-32.

Beaman collaborates on numerous international projects, including “Religious Diversity in Australia: Strategies to Maintain Social Cohesion” (Douglas Ezzy, PI, Tasmania University), and “A Transcultural Approach to Social Inclusion and Engagement among Migrant Youth” (Fethi Mansouri, PI, Deakin University), both funded by the Australian Research Council and sits on the Advisory Boards of several national and international research networks and programmes, including “The transmission of religion across generations: a comparative international study of continuities and discontinuities in family socialization”, PI Christel Gärtner. She led a global team of 37 researchers as Principal Investigator of the 7-year SSHRC funded Religion and Diversity Project and is the principal investigator of Nonreligion in a Complex Future, a SSHRC-funded Partnership grant.

Douglas Ezzy

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Douglas Ezzy, PhD, is Professor of Sociology at the University of Tasmania, Australia.

His research is driven by a fascination with how people make meaningful and dignified lives.  His past research on religion includes studies of religious minorities, religion and the law, contemporary Paganisms, and Christianity.

Highlighted publications include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Christians: Queer Christians, Authentic Selves (Bloomsbury, 2018, with Bronwyn Fielder) and Sex, Death and Witchcraft: A Contemporary Pagan Festival (Bloomsbury, 2014).

Ezzy is lead investigator on the $447,000 Australian Research Council Discovery project “Religious Diversity in Australia: Strategies to Maintain Social Cohesion”. He is also currently researching religious diversity and LGBT+ discrimination.

His books include LGBT Christians (2017, with Bronwyn Fielder), Reinventing Church (2016, with Helen and James Collins), Sex, Death and Witchcraft (2014), Teenage Witches (2007, with Helen Berger), and Qualitative Analysis (2002).

Ezzy also works in the field of health sociology and is an Adjunct Professor in the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania.  His research includes a $839,000 NHMRC grant on bariatric surgery (PI Prof Alison Venn), and a $272,000 WorkCover Tasmania grant, with Prof Maggie Walter, on workers’ compensation.  He has also published on the experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS.

He has a long standing interest in religion and ecology.  He has published autoethnographic reflections on living in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (“Geographical Ontology” The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies), and written about religious responses to climate change.  He often wonders what matters to wombats, hedgehogs, and turtles.

Inger Furseth

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Inger Furseth, Dr.polit., is Professor of sociology at University of Oslo, Norway and Adjunct professor at KIFO Institute for church, religion, and worldview research.

Her research interests cover a broad area within the sociology of religion: the complexity of religion in various public spheres, the growing religious diversity in Western countries and its implications for public policies, social and religious movements, religious extremism, social theory, and nonreligion, its role in contemporary society and the coexistence of nonreligious and religious people.

Highlighted publications include Modern Sociologists on Society and Religion (Routledge, 2021, with Pål Steinar Repstad) and Religious Complexity in the Public Sphere: Comparing Nordic Countries (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018).

Furseth is the senior editor of Religion and the Social Order book series (Brill), and co-editor of Nordic Journal of Religion and Society (Universitetsforlaget). She is the President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion, and a council member of Association for the Sociology of Religion. She is also the editor of Religious Complexity in the Public Sphere. Comparing Nordic Countries (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), and the co-editor of The Changing Soul of Europe. Religions and Migrations in Northern and Southern Europe (Brill, 2014).

She has published several articles and book chapters in the sociology of religion. She is also the author of A Comparative Study of Social and Religious Movements in Norway, 1780s-1905 (Edwin Mellen, 2002) and From Quest for Truth to Being Oneself. Religious Change in Life Stories(Peter Lang, 2006). She is the co-author of Introduction to the sociology of religion. Classical and Contemporary Perspectives, which was written in Norwegian (Universitetsforlaget, 2002), and translated to Swedish (Liber, 2004), Danish (Hans Reitzel, 2004), English (Ashgate/Routledge, 2006), Turkish (Birlesik, 2011), and Persian (University of Religions and denominations Press, 2016). In January 2015, Ashgate selected it as one of their books with the most impact.

Furseth led a team of 24 researchers as Principal Investigator of the 5-year Nordic Collaborative Research Project (NORDCORP), “The Role of Religion in the Public Sphere: A Comparative Study of the Five Nordic Countries” (NOREL), funded by NOS-HS (The Joint Committee for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences).

Juan Marco Vaggione

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Juan Marco Vaggione is Full Professor of Sociology at the School of Law, National University of Córdoba, and tenured researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), in Argentina.

His research interests include: a) the analysis of sexual and reproductive rights in Latin America, particularly abortion and same-sex marriage; b) the emergence and mutations of sociopolitical conservatism in Latin America; and c) the public roles of religion in democratic contexts.

Recent articles include “Sexuality, Law, and Religion in Latin America: Frameworks in Tension,” Religion and Gender; 8: 14-31; “La Iglesia Católica frente a la política sexual: la configuración de una ciudadanía religiosa” in Cadernos Pagu [online], 50.

As a leading expert from Latin America, he has been a research and/or policy consultant for different organizations working with women and LGBTI rights and health (such as the United Nations, Catholics for a Free Choice, AWID, CREA, and CLACAI).

Vaggione is the creator and director of a journal series on gender, sexuality and religion that has published 10 volumes so far. All of these volumes have focused on tensions or intersections between religion, gender and sexuality. This collection has included articles and analyses on the interplay between religion and sexuality intended not only for an academic audience but also activist readers.

During the last years, he has co-edited Abortion in Latin America. Juridical strategies in favor of abortion legalization and to confront conservative resistances (Siglo XXI Editores, 2018) with P. Bergallo and I. Jaramillo; Laicidad and Religious Diversity in Latin America, (Springer, 2017) with J. M. M. Faúndes; Permeabilidades activas. Religión, política y sexualidad en la Argentina democrática, (Biblos, 2015) with J. C. Esquivel.

Vaggione has been part of many research projects and he is the current Director of the Sexual and Reproductive Rights Program at the National University of Córdoba. He is a co-investigator of Nonreligion in a Complex Future, a SSHRC-funded Partnership grant.

Linda Woodhead

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Linda Woodhead, MBE, FRSE is F.D.Maurice Professor at King’s College, London.

She is an expert on religion, beliefs and values. Her writing and broadcasting examine the decline of Christianity and the rise of alternative beliefs, values and rituals – both spiritual and non-religious. She is currently studying the new visibility of ‘values’, and how survivors of spiritual abuse survive.

Linda has published over twenty books, including The Spiritual Revolution (Blackwell, 2005, with Paul Heelas), A Sociology of Religious Emotions (Oxford, 2010, with Ole Riis), A Very Short Introduction to Christianity (Oxford, 2004) and, most recently Gen Z, Explained  (University of Chicago, 2021, with Roberta Katz, Sarah Ogilvie and Jane Shaw) on the values, beliefs and identities of students in the UK and USA.

Linda led the UK’s $20m ‘Religion and Society’ research programme in 2007-12, founded the Westminster Faith Debates with Charles Clarke (2012-15), and was awarded an MBE by the Queen for services to higher education. She has held visiting positions in Bern, Hanover, Lucerne, Manila, Münster, Princeton, and Stanford, and holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Oslo and Uppsala.

Linda was educated at Cambridge University. She has been Chair of the UK’s Research Excellent Framework panel for theology and religious studies, Panel member of European Research Council Advanced Grants Scheme, and a member of Council for the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council.

She regularly appears in the media, including the BBC, ABC, the Economist, the Atlantic, London Guardian, Observer, Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph, Washington Post, Irish Times, Times of India, AL Jazeera. She is founder with former UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke of the ‘Westminster Faith Debates’.

Other published books include That Was the Church That Was: How the Church of England Lost the English People (Bloomsbury, 2016, with Andrew Brown), A Sociology of Prayer (Routledge, 2015, with Giuseppe Giordan), Christianity: A Very Short Introduction (2nd revised edition 2014), Everyday Lived Islam in Europe (with Nathal Dessing and Nadia Jeldtoft, 2013), Religion and Change in Modern Britain (with Rebecca Catto, 2012), A Sociology of Religious Emotions (with Ole Riis, 2010), Religions in the Modern World (2009), and The Spiritual Revolution (with Paul Heelas, 2005).  Recent articles include Religion and Brexit: Populism and the Church of England. Religion, State and Society 46(3), 2018, The Rise of ‘No Religion’: Towards an Explanation. Sociology of Religion 78(3), 2017, The Rise of ‘No Religion’ in Britain: the emergence of a new cultural majority. Journal of the British Academy, 4, 2016, 245–61.

Linda is currently completing a three year research project on the beliefs, values, identities and belongings of young millennials, funded by the Knight Foundation and based at Stanford University.

Paula Montero

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Paula Montero studied Social Sciences at the Université de Paris VIII, France. She is a full professor at the Department of Anthropology at the University of São Paulo Brazil and

Her research interests include Afro-American traditions, stressing healing practices, witchcraft, and possession. In recent years, she focused on intercultural relations and multiculturalism. At present, she is studying new forms of religious organizations and has published numerous articles on issues concerning their activities in the modern sphere.

Highlighted publications include Religions and Public Controversies: Experiences, social practices, and discourses, [ed], (Terceiro Nome, 2015) and Selvagens, Civilizados, Autênticos: A produção das diferenças nas monografias salesianas, 1920-1970 (Edusp, 2012).

Paula has held the position of President of the Brazilian Center of Analysis and Planning (Cebrap) from 2008 to 2015. She was invited to Columbia University (1984) as Visiting Scholar of the Institute of Latin American Studies, and to the University of Chicago (1996) as a Tinker Visiting Professor.

In 2008, Montero was elected a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, receiving the commendation of the National Order of Scientific Merit, the highest Brazilian scientific distinction to those who excel in their contribution to Brazilian science. Until 2018 Montero was Editor of the Brazilian Journal Novos Estudos do Cebrap, an open-access social science journal attuned with the contemporary Brazilian debate on a wide range of subjects from arts to public policies.

She is the author of Religions and Public Controversies: Experiences, social practices, and discourses, [ed], (Terceiro Nome, 2015) which develop the concept of controversy to tackle the political problem of the presence of religion in public space and Selvagens,Civilizados,Autênticos:  A produção das diferenças nas monografias salesianas no Brasil,1920-1970 ( Edusp, 2012) in which she develops the concept of cultural mediation to better understand the political relation between missionaries and natives. Recent articles include  “Syncretism and Pluralism in the Configuration of Religious Diversity in Brazil,” (Mecila: Working Papers Series,  2018, 4: 1-16) and “Public Religions’ or Religions in the Public Sphere? For a critique of the concept of the religious field of Pierre Bourdieu”, (Religião e Sociedade 36(1): 128-150, 2016).

Montero collaborates with the international Conviviality Centre Maria Sibylla Merian which researches focus on former and present forms of social, political, and cultural conviviality in Latin America and Caribe. She is also leading a team of  23 researchers as Principal Investigator of the 5-year Fapesp funded  Religion,  Law, and Secularism project.

Peter Beyer

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Peter Beyer is Professor of Religious Studies in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Since 2010, including in the context of collaboration in the Religion and Diversity Project, Lori Beaman, PI, his research in the area of religion and global migration has taken a three-pronged direction: examining changing patterns of religious identity in the Canadian population over the last few decades, engaging in longitudinal research with the second generation studied earlier, and developing research instruments and theory for the examination of nonreligion in Canada (and beyond).

Recent book chapters include “Religious Diversity, Institutionalized Religion, and Religion That is Not Religion,” in L. Kühle, W. Hoverd and J. Borup, eds., The Critical Analysis of Religious Diversity (Brill, 2018, 21-40), and, “Religious Identity Construction among Young Adults in Canada: The Religious, the Spiritual, and the Non- Religious,” (with S. Craig & A. Cummins), in P. Gareau, S. Bullivant & and P. Beyer, eds., Youth, Religion, and Identity in a Globalizing Context International Perspectives, (Brill, 2019, 33-52).

In the early part of his career, Beyer’s research focussed on issues in the 19th and 20th century religious history of Canada, particularly French Canadian Roman Catholicism. At that time, he also began a career–long concern with developing sociological theory of religion in contemporary and modern society. That work took an additional direction during the mid-1980s towards theorizing and researching the relation between religion and globalization, a process that eventuated in the early 1990s in the book, Religion and Globalization (Sage, 1994) and then somewhat later in quite a number of publications, but especially Religions in Global Society (Routledge, 2006) and Religion in the Context of Globalization (Routledge, 2013).

Beginning in 2001, Beyer began a new long-term and presently continuing research agenda which sought to apply the theoretical work to the question of religion and global migration and, in that context, to religion in contemporary Canada, especially as concerns the religious diversity that has resulted from post-1970 immigration. Three successive multi-year and collaborative research projects, funded by the SSHRCC, focussed principally on the contours of the increasing religious diversity in Canada since 1970, and on the religious expression of the second generation of this immigration. Among the publications that have resulted from this research are numerous articles, but especially the multi-authored volume, Growing Up Canadian: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists (ed. with R. Ramji, McGill-Queen’s, 2013).

Beyer’s current research collaborations include as co-investigator in the 7-year “Nonreligion in a Complex Future” project (L. Beaman, PI), funded by the SSHRCC; and in the 3-year project entitled “The Transmission of Religion across Generations: A Comparative International Study of Continuities and Discontinuities in Family Socialization” (PIs C. Gärtner & K. Tervo-Niemelä), funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

A further ongoing research direction seeks to continue the theoretical work of earlier to find more adequate ways of understanding, from a sociological perspective, the fluid and multi-faceted transformations of religion in contemporary global society, thus seeking to make a contribution to a new and burgeoning area in the sociology of religion. Recent articles in this regard are “Sensing Religion, Observing Religion, Reconstructing Religion: Contingency and Pluralization in Post-Westphalian Context,” Social Compass 63, 2: 234-250, and “Questioning the Secular/Religious Divide in a Post-Westphalian World,” International Sociology 28, 6: 663-679.

Ryan Cragun

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Ryan T. Cragun, Ph.D, is Professor of Sociology and the Co-Director of the Honors Program at The University of Tampa.

His research interests fall broadly into three areas: the study of Mormonism, nonreligion, and secularization. Within these areas, his interests are far ranging. All of his research falls within a broadly defined secularization framework and helps to illustrate how society is slowly becoming less religious in various ways.

He recently co-authored the article “Nothing Is Not Something: On Replacing Nonreligion with Identities,” Secular Studies 3(1):7–26, with Kevin J. McCaffree. He is also a co-author of the forthcoming book Beyond Doubt: The Secularization of Society (New York University Press, forthcoming) with Isabella Kasselstrand and Phil Zuckerman.

Cragun was a co-founder and co-editor of Secularism & Nonreligion (Ubiquity Press), the first journal dedicated to the study of secular individuals and phenomena, from 2011 until 2018. He also served as an expert witness in several prominent court cases in both the US and Canada involving members of both fundamentalist and mainstream Mormon religions.

In his research, he has explored the factors that lead to the growth and decline of Mormonism around the world as well as gender and sexual dynamics within the LDS Church. Regarding the nonreligious, he has explored discrimination and prejudice faced by nonbelievers and the history and dynamics of the secular movement in the US.

He was the co-editor with Christel Manning and Lori Fazzino of Organized Secularism in the United States: New Directions in Research (de Gruyter 2017). Recent articles include “Mapping Religion’s Other: A Review of the Study of Nonreligion and Secularity,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 58(2):319-335 with Jesse Smith; “Sunday Football or Church? A Case Study in Substitutes and Complements,” Review of Religious Research 61(2):169-187, with John Stinespring and Andrew Tillman; and “Complicating Marginalisation: The Case of Mormon and Nonreligious College Students in a Predominantly Mormon Context,” Journal of Beliefs & Values 39(3):317-329 with Kim Abunuwara and J. Sumerau.

Solange Lefebvre

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Solange Lefebvre is a Full Professor at the Institute of Religious Studies, University of Montréal.

Her areas of interest include religion in the public sphere, religion and politics, laïcité and secularisation, youth and generations. . As someone regularly consulted on religious matters, by governments, the media, as well as public and private organizations, Ms. Lefebvre is currently mandated to evaluate chaplaincies in the provincial correctional facilities in Québec, and to advise the ministry of immigration on different types of radicalizations leading to violence and the media.

Lefebvre has published more than 200 chapters and articles. Recent publications include Cultures et spiritualités des jeunes [Cultures and Spirituality of Youth] (Bellarmin, 2008) as well as many directed and edited volumes listed below.

Solange is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and holds Research Chair in Management of Cultural and Religious Diversity at the Faculty of Theology and the Sciences of Religions, University of Montreal. She was a member of the Committee of Experts in the context of the Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences (CCPARDC), chaired by Gérard Bouchard and Charles Taylor (2007-2008).

Her recent directed volumes and journals include Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion 9 : The Changing Faces of Catholicism (Brill, 2018); Public Commissions on Cultural and Religious Diversity (Routledge, 2017); Catholicisme et cultures. Regards croisés Québec-France [Catholicism and Cultures. Crossed views on Québec-France] (Presses de l’Université Laval et Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2015); Religion in the Public Sphere: Canadian Case Studies (University of Toronto Press, 2014); Living with Diversity (International Journal of Theology. Concilium 2014/1); Le programme d’éthique et culture religieuse [Program of Ethics and Religious Culture] (PUL, 2012); Les religions sur la scène mondiale [Religions on the Global Scene] (PUL, 2010); and Le Patrimoine religieux du Québec [Religious Heritage of Québec] (PUL, 2010).

She is coordinating the Canadian section for the European database, with Lori G. Beaman. She has directed and collaborated on several funded research projects on generations, secularism and diversity.