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My first book, A Luminous Brotherhood: Afro-Creole Spiritualism in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in Fall of 2016. The book won the 2017 Francis B. Simkins Award from the Southern Historical Association and the 2017 Michael Thomason Book Award from the Gulf South Historical Association. It was also selected as a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title by Choice Reviews. The book examines how the beliefs and practice of Spiritualism helped Afro-Creoles mediate the political, social, and cultural changes in New Orleans as the city moved from the antebellum period through Reconstruction. The messages the Cercle Harmonique received from the spirit world and the spirits who sent them offered the circle a forum for airing their political grievances and looking forward to a more egalitarian world. For more on this book, including reviews and other media about it, check out the book’s page.

My second monograph is tentatively titled Spiritual Matters: American Spiritualism and Material Culture (better title coming later). It’s under advance contract with University of North Carolina Press. It’s in the research-in-progress stage.

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 6.15.59 PMI am the co-editor of two books. One is Race and New Religious Movements in the USA: A Documentary Reader, which I am co-editing with Brad Stoddard. Exploring a variety of new religious movements (the Cercle Harmonique will make an appearance!), the book is the first of its kind. The other project is still in works. Its titled Digital Humanities and Material Religion: An Introduction, and is part of De Gruyter’s new series on Religion and the Digital Humanities. I’m excited about this volume and happy to be co-editing it with Rachel Lindsey. It will interrogate the important question of how material religion becomes digital.

I’m also completing a small project on the Jesuit missions to Alaska and the interactions between Jesuits and indigenous Alaskan communities.

My academic work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Lily Endowment (through IUPUI’s Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture), and Gonzaga University’s Research Council.



  1. […] flashpoint of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, and class that reminded me of the complex study Emily is working on. In more cases than I expected these historians included “religion” and […]

  2. […] questions in regards to my dissertation evidence and research. The main archive of evidence for my dissertation is the séance records of a small group of Afro-creole Spiritualists in mid- to […]

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