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Luce Public Fellows Press Release
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Contact: Ian Hainline, ihainline@kivvit.com, 202-591-5356


PRRI Announces Fellowship to Advance Public Scholarship

Leading University Faculty to Elevate Public Debates on Religion, Politics and Cultural Issues


WASHINGTON – A diverse, all-women cohort of scholars from a variety of disciplines will engage in data-driven dialogue, thought leadership, commentary and teaching on the interplay of religion, politics and culture in a program whose first participants were announced today by PRRI. This year’s cohort of eight PRRI Public Fellows will work alongside PRRI researchers and staff to inform the public about today’s most pressing policy issues.


“We’re excited to see what comes out of this new program, as each of these distinguished scholars further the public debate on issues critical to our culture and society,” said Carolyn J. Davis, PRRI’s Director of Strategic Engagement. “Each fellow is a leader in their chosen field and bringing them together will spark new and exciting collaborations.”


The PRRI Public Fellows Program is made possible through a generous grant from The Henry Luce Foundation. The 2018 Fellows are: Engy Abdelkader, Ruth Braunstein, Keri Day, Rebecca Todd Peters, Jenna Reinbold, Stella M. Rouse, Janelle Wong, and Grace Yukich.


2018 PRRI Public Fellows:


Engy Abdelkader is a scholar, researcher, and humanitarian who teaches graduate seminars on international human rights law as well as undergraduate writing courses. Abdelkader has a long record of working for under-represented and marginalized communities. In the aftermath of 9/11, for instance, she volunteered as a cooperating attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). Her commitment to public service was recognized by a variety of entities, ultimately culminating in appointments to the New Jersey Supreme Court Board on Continuing Legal Education, the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Minority Concerns and more. As chairperson of the ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities (IRR) Committee on National Security and Civil Liberties, her committee’s work earned the 2014 Committee Excellence Award for providing leadership on human rights, civil rights, and the rule of law.


Ruth Braunstein is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Connecticut. A cultural sociologist interested in the role of religion in American political life, her research explores the practices, discourses, narratives, and ideals of activists across the political spectrum. Her research has been published in the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Cultural Sociology, Contexts, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, and Qualitative Sociology, among other outlets.


Keri Day is an Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religion at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ. Her teaching and research interests are in womanist/feminist theologies, social critical theory, cultural studies, economics, and Afro-Pentecostalism. Last year, she was recognized by ABC News as one of six black women at the center of gravity in theological education in America. Alongside her scholarship, she also engages public policy leaders. She has been a guest political commentator on KERA, NPR, DFW/FOX News, and HuffPost Live on issues related to faith and politics.


Rebecca Todd Peters is Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Poverty and Social Program at Elon University. Her work as a feminist social ethicist is focused on globalization, economic, environmental, and reproductive justice. Her most recent book, Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice outlines ways faith communities can support abortion and contraception access for women. She is the author or editor of seven other books. including the award-winning In Search of the Good Life: The Ethics of Globalization (Continuum, 2004). Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), she has been active denominationally and ecumenically for more than twenty-five years and currently represents the PC(USA) as a member of the Faith and Order Standing Commission of the World Council of Churches.


Jenna Reinbold is an Associate Professor of Religion at Colgate University, where she studies contemporary intersections of religion and politics, the separation of church and state in the U.S., religion and the “culture wars,” and religion and human rights. She received her BA at Portland State University, and her MA and PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Stella M. Rouse is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Politics, Director of the Center for American Politics and Citizenship, and Associate Director of the University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll at the University of Maryland. Dr. Rouse’s research and teaching interests focus on Latino politics, minority politics, millennial politics, state politics, and immigration. She is the author of the book, Latinos in the Legislative Process: Interests and Influence (Cambridge University Press, 2013), which was voted as one of the best political science books of 2013 by HuffPost. She has also written for such media and scholarly outlets as Reuters, NBC News, and Scholars Strategy Network.


Janelle Wong is Professor of American Studies and a core faculty member in the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland, College Park. Wong is the author of Immigrants, Evangelicals, and Politics in an Era of Demographic Change from Russell Sage Foundation Press (2018). The book focuses on how white evangelical Christians react to demographic change, particularly growing numbers of Latinx and Asian Americans, and how the latter groups will impact the traditional conservative Christian movement and immigrant political participation.


Grace Yukich is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Quinnipiac University. Her research examines how immigration is changing the relationship between religion and public life in the United States. Her book, One Family Under God: Immigration Politics and Progressive Religion in America (Oxford University Press 2013), chronicles how religious activists are working both for immigration reform and for religious change in the U.S. Her research has also appeared in various journals, including Social Problems, Mobilization, Sociology of Religion, and Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, as well as popular venues like newspapers and blogs.


About PRRI:

PRRI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research at the intersection of religion, culture, and public policy.