Mara Willard (2017-2018)
Dr. Mara Willard is an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Oklahoma, where she also is affiliated with Jewish Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. Aboard-appointed member of the American Academy of Religion's Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion, her research focuses on the intersection of religion, ethics, and politics in the twentieth century. Her first book, Politics after the Death of God (currently under review by Oxford University Press), presents a fresh reading of Hannah Arendt, demonstrating that Arendt's diagnoses and proposed cures for modern state violence made creative use of intra-and post-Christian theological debates.
While at Boston College, Willard will also advance her research on the so-called "Crisis in the Church" of 2002. This book project considers how lay and clerical initiatives for ecclesial reform in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal were conditioned by Catholic practices and priorities as well as class and cultural shifts of post-war Catholicism.
Willard received a B.A. with distinction from Swarthmore College, holds an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School and Ph.D. from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, and has vivid childhood memories of sitting in traffic on Boston College game days. She is living for the year in the town of Arlington, with her spouse Chris Railey and their two boys, ages 9 and 6.