Academic interests

Afro-Brazilian and Afro-diasporan religions; Women & religion; Gender/Sexuality and religion; Possession religions; Ritual studies; new religious movements; black magic


IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute project grant, 2017;
IUPUI Summer Research and Creative Activity grant, 2015;
IU Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society grant, 2014;
IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute project grant, 2014;
Thomas Robbins Award for Excellence in the Study of New Religions, 2013;
Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant (Brazil) 2012;
Indiana University New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities grant 2012;
IUPUI Arts and Humanities project grant 2010;
IU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies travel grant 2010;
Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad (Moi University, Kenya) 2009;
SLA Research and Creative Activity grant 2009;
IU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies travel grant 2008;
IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities 2006;
NEH Summer Seminar 2005;


Holy Harlots: Femininity, Sexuality, and Black Magic in Brazil (University of California Press, 2011);
"I am a Psychic Antenna: The Art of Joaquim Vilela," Black Mirror, Vol 2 (forthcoming 2017).
"Where Men are Knights and Women are Princesses: Gender Ideology in Brazil's Valley of the Dawn," in Irreverence and the Sacred: Critical Studies in the History of Religions, eds. Hugh B. Urban and Greg Johnson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, in press.
"Women and Religion in Brazil," in Brill Handbook of Contemporary Religions in Brazil, eds. Bettina Schmidt and Steven Engler, 395-430. Leiden: Brill, 2016.
"Valley of the Dawn" profile, World Religions and Spiritualities Project, September 2015.
"Spirits of Shadows and Light," Abraxas: International Journal of Esoteric Studies, Vol 6, November 2014.
“Intergalactic Space-Time Travelers: Envisioning Globalization in Brazil’s Valley of the Dawn,” Nova Religio, Vol 16, No. 4: 63-92. May 2013.
“Dispatches from the Frontlines Between Faith and Reason: On the Twentieth Anniversary of Discourse and the Construction of Society,” CSSR Bulletin, Vol 38, No. 3, September 2009: 1-5.
“Feiticeiras and Donas-de-Casa: The Afro-Brazilian Spirit Entity Pomba Gira and the Cultural Construction of Femininity in Brazil,” Sexualidad, Salud y Sociedad, Revista Latinoamericana, No. 2, 2009: 49-71.
“Serving the Spirits, Healing the Person: Women in Afro-Brazilian Religions,” in Women and New and Africana Religions, eds. Lillian Ashcraft-Eason, Darnise Martin, and Oyeronke Olademo, 101-122. Santa Barbara: Praeger/ABC-CLIO Press, 2009. 
“The Dark Side of the Feminine: Pomba Gira Spirits in Brazil,” Gendering Global Transformations: Gender, Culture, Race, and Identity, ed. Chima J. Korieh and Philomena E. Okeke-Ihejirika. New York: Routledge, 2008;
"Wicked Women and Femmes Fatales: Gender, Power, and Pomba Gira Spirits in Brazil," History of Religions , August 2008;
"Black Magic and the Academy: Macumba and Afro-Brazilian Orthodoxies," History of Religions , May 2007;


Faculty co-advisor for the Religious Studies Student Association;
adjunct faculty in Africana Studies;
adjunct faculty in Women's Studies;

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