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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Meet the Staff

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Alan Wolfe
Director

Alan Wolfe is the founding director of the Boisi Center and Professor of Political Science at Boston College. He is the author and editor of more than twenty books, including, most recently, Political Evil: What It Is and How To Combat It (2001), The Future of Liberalism (2009), Does American Democracy Still Work? (2006), Return to Greatness (2005), The Transformation of American Religion: How We actually Practice our Faith (2003), Moral Freedom (2001), and One Nation After All (1999). Widely considered one of the nation's most prominent public intellectuals, he is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and has delivered lectures across the United States and Europe. (more...)

Curriculum Vitae
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Erik Owens
Associate Director

Erik Owens is associate director of the Boisi Center and adjunct assistant professor of theology and international studies at Boston College. His research explores a variety of intersections between religion and public life, with particular attention to the challenge of fostering the common good of a religiously diverse society. His interdisciplinary scholarship bridges the fields of theological ethics, political philosophy, law, education, international studies and public policy. He is the co-editor of three books: Gambling: Mapping the American Moral Landscape (2009), Religion and the Death Penalty: A Call for Reckoning (2004) and The Sacred and the Sovereign: Religion and International Politics (2003), the last of which was called a "must read" by Foreign Affairs in 2009. Co-chair of the American Academy of Religion's Religion and Politics section, he also sits on the AAR's Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion and the steering committee of the AAR's "Religion and Public Schools: International Perspectives" group. He received his Ph.D. in religious ethics from the University of Chicago, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from Duke University. Before joining the Boisi Center, Owens received research fellowships from the Spencer Foundation and the University of Virginia’s Center on Religion and Democracy; taught at the University of Chicago and DePaul University; and worked for the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, as well as the City of Chicago’s Board of Ethics. 

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Susan Richard
Administrative Assistant

Since the Boisi Center's inception in 1999, Susan Richard has served as the Boisi Center's Administrative Assistant. With her degree from Johnson and Wales University, she has the educational training to plan and organize the many events the Boisi Center sponsors each semester. Prior to coming to Boston College, Susan worked at Boston University for eight years in administrative capacities in the Dean's Office in the College of Arts and Sciences and Graduate School as well as the department administrator in the Sociology Department. Susan is also currently training in web site management.

 

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Yael Levin Hungerford
Graduate Research Assistant

Yael Levin Hungerford is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Political Science Department at Boston College, with a focus on political theory. Her work is concerned with the liberal political order, religious freedom, and modern epistemological skepticism. She is writing a dissertation on the status of truth and knowledge and the political thought of Charles S. Peirce. In addition to managing the Boisi Center's public events and website, Yael leads the Boisi Center Symposium on Religion and Politics, a discussion group for undergraduate and graduate students. Yael is a graduate fellow at the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy during the 2013-2014 academic year. She earned an A.B. in philosophy from the University of Chicago.

 

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Conor Kelly
Sesquicentennial Graduate Research Assistant

Conor is a doctoral candidate and Flatley Fellow in Theological Ethics.  He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (BA, MTS), where he completed an honors thesis addressing the intersections of theology and law in the definition of personhood.  He is currently working on his dissertation, putting fundamental Christian convictions into contact with sociological research to develop a practically relevant theology and ethics of work in leisure.  For the 2013-2014 academic year, he has also been appointed a Graduate Fellow at the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy.  His work at the Boisi Center this year will focus on the final Sesquicentennial Symposium on religious diversity and the common good.

 

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Lee Hill
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Lee is a senior in the College of Arts and Science. An international studies and psychology double major, Lee spent the summer of his sophomore year working in the Department of Justice and Equality in Dublin, Ireland. Last summer, Lee received a DAAD Summer Course Grant to study German in Berlin and interned at Titan-Commerce Continental Services in Frankfurt. Lee currently acts as the coordinator of the Clough Center for Constitutional Democracy’s Junior Fellows program. Lee’s academic interests include the development of the European Union, globalization, and religious trends in Europe.

 

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Wilco Carey
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Wilco is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences majoring in Political Science. Aided by a grant from the McGillycuddy-Logue Center for Undergraduate Global Studies, Wilco spent last summer in Kuwait, researching the role of oil politics in the Middle East. Last semester, he studied South African politics at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa. In January, Wilco will be travelling to the Palestinian Territories to work in a refugee camp for two weeks, supported by a grant from the Volunteer and Service Learning Center. Next year, he will be writing a Political Science honors thesis on the influence of intelligence agencies and the international community in the Middle East.

 

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Benjamin Miyamoto
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Benjamin is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and a double major in Philosophy and Theology. Aided by an Advanced Study Grant and a grant from the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Benjamin spent the summer of 2012 in Israel and the Palestinian Territories studying the role of religious networks in the peacemaking and human rights advocacy organizations mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since then, he has worked as an undergraduate research fellow in the Philosophy and Theology department. Benjamin's research interests include ethics and the influence of metaphor on political, religious, and philosophical thought.

 

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Therese Murphy
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Therese is a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences majoring in Political Science. Last semester, she studied International Relations at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. She is currently writing a Political Science honors thesis on Population Politics, focusing on Turkey and Israel. Her other academic interests include: women in politics, U.S. electoral politics, and Turkish-Cypriot relations.

 

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Mary Popeo
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Mary is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. An International Studies major, she focuses her studies on East Asian cultures and languages. Mary spent last summer in Japan, researching Nagasaki's Christian legacy. After receiving a grant from the Center for Human Rights and International Justice, she returned to Japan this summer to investigate the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on Hiroshima's peace movement. Mary's research interests include spiritual attitudes and education in Japan's secular society, the role of religion in cultivating Japanese identity, perceptions of the nuclear industry in East Asia, the involvement of Japanese youth in the anti-nuclear movement.

 

Click here for a list of Boisi Center Alumni