I am Associate Director of the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I received my Ph.D. in Religious Studies from UCSB in 2018.
I am Associate Director of the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My research focuses on American religions and secularism, specializing in how new religious movements, Asian American religions, and the religiously unaffiliated shape modern American culture.
I employ humanistic and social scientific methods to investigate how religion is constructed through discourse, practices, and institutions. I also research governmental regulation of religion and the racialization of religion.
Current projects include the Meaning of Religion Project, part of an intergenerational study of religion, spirituality, and values funded by the John Templeton Foundation; the Secular Communities Survey, the largest-ever study of organized nonbelievers in the U.S.; a co-edited volume (with Melissa Borja) on Asian American Religions, Religious Freedom, and the State; and a monograph on the Universal Life Church. I am also developing articles about the Orientalist origins of the brainwashing concept and its application against Asian American new religions, the Esalen Institute’s spiritualization of geopolitics, and the federal taxation of religious groups.
I have published articles on the Universal Life Church and contemporary American weddings, organic foods in new religious movements, and biodiversity and spiritual well-being. I have also published numerous book reviews, encyclopedia entries, and articles for academic blogs. You can find these here.
I have also conducted podcast interviews and written posts for the Religious Studies Project.
I am co-chair of the Sociology of Religion Unit and serve on the steering committee of the Asian North American Religion, Culture, & Society Unit at the American Academy of Religion (AAR).