About Me

Faculty and Staff Portraits 2014Hi! And welcome!

I am an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Gonzaga University, where I teach classes on American religions. My main scholarly and teaching interests reside at the intersections of religion and race in the Americas.

My first book, A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, argues that Spiritualism provided a forum for criticizing the material world’s injustices and for formulating a corrective based on egalitarian republicanism. The book maps how religion mediated the city’s cultural, political, and social changes from the late antebellum period through Reconstruction. To achieve this, I focus on the practice of Afro-Creole Spiritualism and the twenty years of seance records of the Cercle Harmonique. A Luminous Brotherhood was published by University of North Carolina Press in the Fall 2016. A Luminous Brotherhood won the 2017 Francis B. Simkins Award and the 2017 Michael Thomason Book Award; additionally it was selected as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title for 2017 (an honor given to about 10% of all reviewed academic books per year). For more on the project, including links to reviews and interviews about the book, click here.

For my next project, I plan on investigating the relationship between Catholicism and colonialism in America. One way to accomplish this is to dive into the archives of the Jesuits of the Oregon Province and exploring the intersections of Jesuit missions, Native American religions, and colonialism. In the meantime I have two co-edited books in the works, one on material religion and digital humanities and the other is a documentary reader on race and new religious movements in America.

I serve as Associate Editor for the Journal of Southern Religion and was the journal’s managing editor from 2010-2014. This is the only journal devoted to the study of religion in the American South and publishes articles, forums, and book reviews. Additionally, I’m a member of the 2015-2017 class of Young Scholars of American Religion, a fellows program run by the Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture at IUPUI.

You can also find my thoughts at the Religion in American History blog. I can be delinquent with updating my blog here, so check RiAH for my posts. You can also follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/clark_ems.

Feel free to contact me (emclark @ gonzaga [dot] edu) about research, teaching, the Journal of Southern Religion, or any topic or idea raised in my blog posts.

The image in my website’s header is “Veüe et Perspective de la Nouvelle Orléans” by Jean-Pierre Lassus (1726).