Broadly speaking, my research looks at the ways that religion relates to arenas of human experience considered “secular.” I investigate these connections through my subjects’ unexamined assumptions: those things presumed to be self-evidently true. People’s basic ideas of personhood, of authenticity and sincerity, of freedom, order, and justice typically overlap any distinct lines drawn between secular and sacred or public and private. Thus, unexamined assumptions provide an ideal means both to interrogate the categories “religious” and “secular” and to explore their many intersections.
In the United States, religion has served as an important system of power, justifying acts of aggression and resistance. Laying claim to particular religious identities has historically been central to the American middle classes and as such offers a new perspective to understand the relationships between a variety of disparate cultural, economic, political, and ideological phenomena.