Pandemic and Religion

Religion and Pandemic

Virtual Graduate Student Conference

COVID-19 has drastically altered life in almost every way, including religious life. Religious gatherings have been restricted, worship has shifted online to significantly reshaped formats, hospital chaplaincy faces new challenges, complaints of infringed religious liberty have emerged, churches have actively subverted mask or social-distancing orders, and the future of in-person worship might be forever changed.

Join the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life for its first graduate student conference exploring the impact of COVID-19 on religion in the United States. Graduate students from seventeen institutions across the nation will present papers from multiple disciplines addressing issues arising now, in the midst of COVID's impact, as well as issues linked to past pandemics and possible future issues arising from COVID's lasting influence on religion in the U.S. context.

Date: Saturday, February 27, 2021
Time: 8:45am - 3:30pm

Registration via our website is now closed. Please send registration requests to Zac Karanovich:

Conference Flyer

• Deborah Ann Wong, Duke Divinity School:
“Liturgy in Lockdown: Expanding the Notion of Church”

• Edmund Lazzari, Marquette University:
“Virtual Catholicism?: An Anthropological and Sacramental Critique”

• Dominic Pigneri, The Catholic University of America:
“Is the Laity Non-Essential?: Clericalism and Mass Suspension for COVID-19”

• Tyler J. Fuller, Boston University:
“Social Distancing During the Last Supper: Catholic Emotions, Sacramental Adaptation, and Authority During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

• David C. Quackenbos, Duke Divinity School:
“Loving God and Neighbor: Reflections on Martin Luther’s Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague (1527)”

• Emily Nelms Chastain, Boston University School of Theology:
“Three Simple Rules: How Birmingham Methodists Conveyed a Wesleyan Theological Framework and Reframed Their Practices to Save Lives from Both Cholera and Influenza”

• Derek Uejo, Duke Divinity School:
“Mapping Martyrological Language: The Martyrdom of Polycarp and The Life of St. Francis in Conversation with American Christian Uses During the COVID-19 Pandemic”

• Ranana Dine, University of Chicago Divinity School:
“A Portent and a Wonder”: Tzara’at, Leprosy, and Its Contemporary Jewish Metaphors”

• Nick Mitchell, Loyola University Chicago:
“Responsibility’s Roots: Looking at and beyond Iris Marion Young’s Social Connection Model in the Time of Coronavirus”

• Wade Casey, Loyola University Chicago:
“Pandemic and Wealth: A Theological Exploration”

• Jack Barsody, Yale Divinity School:
“COVID, Fratelli Tutti, and the Rise of OnlyFans: How a Pandemic Has Magnified a Digital Throwaway Culture”

• Dawrell Rich, Drew University:
“Masking a Shouting People: The Impacts of COVID-19 on the Black Church Experience”

• Lucy Ballard, Harvard University:
“‘A Scourge in Our Ummah:’ Wellness and Racial Liberation in U.S. Muslim Pandemic Responses”

• Danny Ballon, Emory University:
“Religion as the Most Favored Nation: COVID-19 and the First Amendment at the Supreme Court”

• Anthony Harrison, Boston College:
“Individual Liberty and the Common Good: COVID-19 Orders and Civil Disobedience”

• Leonardo D. Mendoza, Loyola Marymount University:
“Religious Liberty and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Ignoring Social Responsibility in the Name of Freedom During a Public Health Crisis”

• Kristoff Reese Grosfeld, Princeton Theological Seminary:
“Reading Karl Barth in the COVID-19 Era: What Even Is Freedom?”

• Anna Holleman and Joseph Roso, Duke University:
“Congregational Preparedness on the Eve of COVID-19”

• Andrew Gertner Belfield, Kelly Kossar, Laurel Marshall Potter, Elli Pripas, Boston College & Hebrew College:
“Basic Human Communities: An Interreligious Alternative to Zoom Worship in the Era of COVID”

• James P. Ferus, S.J., Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University:
“Reframing Liturgical Discourse: Exploring Parish Online Programs in a Time of Pandemic”

• Nicholas D. Sawicki, Fordham Law:
“Kicking & Screaming: The Catholic Church’s Innovation Problem in the Time of COVID-19”