Department of Anthropology
Ph.D. Anthropology, Graduate Center, City University of New York, 2013
M.Ed. Sociology and Equity Studies in Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, 2005
B.A. Race, Class, and Environmental Politics, Fairhaven College, Western Washington University, 2000
Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University, 2021-present
Assistant Professor of the Practice in Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, 2017-2021
Postdoctoral Fellow, Anthropology Department, Vanderbilt University, 2014-2016
The Divine Institution: White Evangelicalism’s Politics of the Family. Rutgers University Press (March 2021).
Beyond Populism: Angry Politics and the Twilight of Neoliberalism, edited with Jeff Maskovsky, West Virginia University Press, 2020.
Articles in refereed journals
“Introduction: Entanglements of Anti-Feminism and Anti-Environmentalism in the Far Right,” Special Issue for Journal of Australian Feminist Studies, edited with Josef Barla, Australian Feminist Studies, 36 (2021): 377-387.
“A Climate of Misogyny: Gender, Politics of Ignorance, and Climate Change Denial-An interview with Katharine Hayhoe,” Special Issue for Journal of Australian Feminist Studies, edited with Josef Barla, Australian Feminist Studies, 36 (2021): 388-395.
“Lifeboat Theology: White evangelicalism, apocalyptic chronotopes, and environmental politics” Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, (Forthcoming).
“Racializing misogyny: Sexuality and gender in the new online white nationalism,” Feminist Anthropology, 1.2 (2020): 176-183.
“Christian nationalism and LGBTQ Structural Violence in the United States,” Journal of Religion and Violence, 7.3 (2020) : 278-302.
“White Sexual Politics: The Patriarchal Family in White Nationalism and the Religious Right,” Transforming Anthropology, 28.1 (2020): 58-73.
“Whither Whiteness and Religion: Implications for theology and the study of religion,” co-authored with Rachel Schneider, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 88.1, (March 2020): 175–199.
“Training the Porous Body: Evangelicals and the Ex-Gay Movement,” American Anthropologist, 120.4 (December 2018): 647-658.
“Feminist Ethnography in Cyberspace: Imagining Families in the Cloud,” Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 73.3 (June 2015): 113-124.
“The Apartheid Conscience: Gender, Race, and Re-imagining the White Nation in Cyberspace,” Ethnic Studies Review, 29.2 (Winter 2006): 20-45.
SPECIAL ISSUES edited
2022 “Authoritarianism and the Anthropocene: Far-right extremism, anti-feminism, and anti-environmentalism,” Special Issue for Journal of Australian Feminist Studies, edited with Josef Barla, Australian Feminist Studies, 36.110.
“Reporting on organized racism/white supremacy movements: challenges of amplification, legitimization and mainstreaming for political journalism,” with Tina Askanius, Routledge Companion to Political Journalism.
“Americanism, Trump, and Uniting the White Right,” in Beyond Populism: Angry Politics and the Twilight of Neoliberalism, eds. Jeff Maskovsky and Sophie Bjork-James, West Virginia University Press, 2020, 42-60.
“Hacker Nation: Cyberspace and the Feminist Appropriation of Technology in Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy,” in Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Kick Their Asses!: Feminist Perspectives on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, eds. Donna King And Carrie Lee Smith. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2012, 98-107.
“Cybersupremacy: The new face and form of white supremacist activism,” in Tactics in Hard Times: Practices and Spaces of New Media, ed. Megan Boler. Boston: MIT Press, 2008*, 405-428.
* Published under the name R. Sophie Statzel
“This is Our Message: Women’s Leadership in the New Christian Right. By Emily S. Johnson and The Preacher’s Wife: The Precarious Power of Evangelical Women Celebrities. By Kate Bowler,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Volume 88, Issue 2, June 2020, Pages 594–599.
Invited review of Cyber Racism: White Supremacy Online and the New Attack on Civil Rights, by Jessie Daniels. Gender and Society, 24 (2010): 408-409.
“‘White Genocide’: Digital Cultures and the shape of White Nationalist Fear,” in development
2022 “Fueled by virtually unrestricted social media access, white nationalism is on the rise and attracting violent young white men,” The Conversation.
2021 “The FBI’s 2020 Hate Crime Report Shows 12-Year High, But Spotlights Underreporting,” Rantt Media.
2021 “Rick Santorum breezes past the genocidal foundation of white Christian Nationalism,” Religion Dispatches.
2021 “QAnon hasn’t gone away – it’s alive and kicking in states across the country,” The Conversation.
“The biggest threats to American democracy? White nationalists and politicians who embrace them,” LA Times, October 10, 2020.
“Nearly two centuries ago, a QAnon-like conspiracy theory propelled candidates to Congress,” The Conversation, September 2, 2020.
“Gender and Religion.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Anthropology. Ed. John Jackson. New York: Oxford University Press (2019). http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/abstract/document/obo-9780199766567/obo-9780199766567-0202.xml?rskey=hq39HH&result=3&q=bjork-james#firstMatch.
“Many hate crimes never make it into the FBI’s database,” The Conversation, January 4, 2019.
“The ‘Pro-Family’ Movement Has Little to Say About Family Separation,” Religion Dispatches, July 12, 2018.
“What the latest FBI data do and do not tell us about hate crimes in the US, The Conversation, Nov. 26, 2017.
“When White Nationalism Became Popular,” Anthropology News, co-written with Jeff Maskovsky, May 18, 2017.
FELLOWSHIPS AND GRANTS
EXTERNAL FELLOWSHIPS AND GRANTS
2022-2023 Conference Support Grant, with Sarah Hautzinger (Colorado College), Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research; Project: Religious Responses to Climate Turmoil: Anthropological Perspectives
2022-2024 Senior Research Award, National Science Foundation; Project: Democracy, Demography, and Social Movements in the Northwestern United States
2022 Fellowship on the Race, Religion, and American Judaism project sponsored by the Center for Jewish Ethics and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; Project: Strategies for Opposing Antisemitism in the Far Right
2019-2021 Post-PhD Fellowship, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research; Project: When the Nazis move next door: Forty years of fighting organized racism in the Pacific Northwest
2020 Individual Research Grant, American Academy of Religion; Project: Religion and Opposition to Organized Racism in the Northwestern United States
2019 Coolidge Fellow, Crosscurrents Research Colloquium, Auburn Seminary, New York; Project: Waiting: The Contested Meaning of Abortion Waiting Periods
2017-2018 Workshop Grant, National Science Foundation; Project: Community Change in Global Perspective
2017- 2018 Conference Support Grant, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research; Project: Community Change in Global Perspective
2015-2017 Jack Shand Research Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion; Project: In Service To The Father: The Ethics Of Authority And Submission In US Evangelicalism
2010 Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research; Project: The Political Ethics of Intimacy in Contemporary American Evangelicalism
INTERNAL GRANTS RECEIVED
2022-2023 Immersion Grant, Vanderbilt University, Project: The contested meaning of abortion
2020-2021 Vanderbilt Strong Grant, Vanderbilt University, Project: When the Nazis move next door: Twenty years of fighting organized racism in the Pacific Northwest
2018 Research Scholar Grant, Vanderbilt University; Project: Confronting the Racist Right
2017-2018 Macro-Grant, Institute for Digital Learning, Vanderbilt University
2015-2016 EOS Environmental Fellow, Vanderbilt University: Project: Seeking New Metaphors: Mobilizing Culture to Confront Environmental Crises
2012-2013 Presidential Research Assistantship with Professor Leith Mullings, President of the American Anthropological Association
2012- 2013 Mellon Fellowship, Committee for the Study of Religion, CUNY Graduate Center; Project: The Political Ethics of Intimacy in Contemporary American Evangelicalism
2011-2012 Dissertation Fellowship, CUNY Graduate Center; Project: The Political Ethics of Intimacy in Contemporary American Evangelicalism
2010 Doctoral Research Grant, CUNY; Project: The Political Ethics of Intimacy in Contemporary American Evangelicalism
2007-2009 Graduate Teaching Fellowship, CUNY
2008 Doctoral Research Grant, CUNY
2021-present Fellow, Center for the Analysis of the Radical Right
2020-present Fellow, Center for Research on Male Supremacism
2018-2019 Junior Faculty Teaching Fellowship, Vanderbilt University; $2,000 for teaching stipend
2018-2019 Mellon Digital Humanities Faculty Fellow, Vanderbilt University: $10,000 research stipend plus $10,000 for a course buy-out
2022 “The Natural Family Movement in the United States,” presentation at the Radcliffe Exploratory Seminar on the Natural Family movement in international perspective, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts
2022 “Evangelicalism, abortion, and neoliberal politics in the United States,” Conference on Christianity and Politics Across the Americas: Transnational Perspectives,” Universidad Católica, Santiago, Chile
2021 “Author meets critic, Sophie Bjork James’ The Divine Institution,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting (virtual)
2021 “Author meets critic, Sophie Bjork James’ The Divine Institution,” Society for the Anthropology of Religion Biennial Meeting (virtual)
2021 “Roundtable on Religion and Anti-Racism,” Invited Panel, Society for the Anthropology of Religion (virtual)
2021 “Biden’s First Hundred Days,” Scholar’s Strategy Network, Tennessee (virtual)
2021 “Keynote, Race and Family Values in the US.,” Famille sans frontiers/Family Without Borders, MSH Val de Loire and Université de Tours (virtual)
2021 “Religion and White Supremacy,” The Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (virtual)
“Be like Sweden!: The US Far-Right and the Swedish Response,” REDEM Seminar – Extremist responses to Covid19 – Mobilizations in and around Sweden, Rethinking Democracy, Malmö University and The Institute for Future Studies, Stockholm University, 2020.
“White Nationalism in the Era of Angry Politics,” Age of Rages Conference, Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore (postponed due to COVID-19)
“The Alt-Right in US History,” Fairhaven College, Bellingham, Washington, 2019.
“Racialized homophobia: Sexuality and gender in the online white nationalist movement,” Critical Understanding of Racialization in the Era of Global Populism, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, June 2019.
“Race, Gender, and Evangelical Theology,” Fordham University, New York, April 2019.
“The Alt-Right and the Legacy of Racism in the US,” Outside the Box Series, Nashville Public Library, 2018.
“Gender and nation in US Evangelicalism,” Religious Studies Colloquium, Middle Tennessee State University, 2017.
“Understanding the Alt-Right,” Government Accountability Office, Chicago, 2017.
“The Alt-Right in US History,” The Poynter Smart Conference at Vanderbilt, Poynter Institute, 2017.
“Where do we go from here? Racism, Populism, Fascism and the Future of the Hard Right,” Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, City University of New York, 2016.
“Respectability, Race, and Making Gender Sacred in US Evangelicalism,” Colorado College, Colorado, 2016.
“Doing gender/doing religion: Making family and making nation in US Evangelicalism,” Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, Ontario, 2015.
International Women’s Day Discussion, Scarritt-Bennett Center, Nashville, 2015.
“‘I felt His love wash over me’: Affective Truth in Evangelical Christianity,” University of California at San Diego Anthropology Colloquium, University of California, San Diego, 2014.
“Reading the Bible with James Dobson: The Truth Project, Race, and the Construction of a ‘Biblical Worldview,” The Bible in American Life conference, Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 2014.
“The ‘Problem’ with Fundamentalism and Other Liberal Myths About Religion,” New York Academy of Sciences Panel, New York, NY, 2013.
“From ‘rules’ to a ‘relationship’: The spiritual faith and political passions of American Evangelicals,” SSRC sponsored conference on Spirituality, Political Engagement, and Public Life, Columbia University, New York, NY, 2011.
SLECTED CONFERENCE ACTIVITY
“Thirty Years after Contested Lives: Abortion Politics on the World Stage,” American Anthropological Association, 2019.
“How Anthropology Matters in the Anthropocene: Understanding the Cultures and Politics of Climate Change Denial,” Executive Panel, American Anthropological Association, 2017.
“Sacralizing Gender: familiar patterns and divergent directions in global evangelicalism,” American Anthropological Association Meetings, 2015.
“Engaging Secular and Religious Affect,” Affect Theory Conference, 2015.
“The (Re)production of Misery among the Religious(ly) Right(eous): Coercion, Conformity, and Resistance to Hetero/Homonormative Patriarchy in Four Case Studies,” American Studies Association meetings, 2015.
“Uncanny Crossovers: Secular and Protestant Hauntings in Psycho-Medical Knowledge,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 2014.
“Affective Economies and Religious Worlds,” American Academy of Religion Annual Conference, 2014.
“‘White Genocide’: Digital Cultures, Ethnography, and the shape of White Nationalist Fear,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 2019.
“White Sexual Politics: The Gendered Politics of White Nationalism,” NORA Conference on Border Regimes, Territorial Discourses, and Feminist Politics, the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, 2019.
“LGBT Bias, Evangelicalism, and the limits of hate as an analytic tool,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, 2018.
“The Future in the Age of Biocide: The Temporality of Evangelical Ethics and Politics,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 2017.
“Exposing ‘Family Values’ in post-liberal times,” American Ethnological Society Meeting, 2017.
“The Interior Public: cultivating internal capacities and public imaginaries in US Evangelicalism,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 2016.
“Doing gender/doing religion: US Evangelicalism, the family, and the art of submission” 2015, presented at: Society for the Anthropology of Religion Bi-Annual Meeting, American Studies Association, and American Anthropological Association
“Epistemologies of Affect and Discourses of the Self: Learning to Feel God in US Evangelicalism,” Affect Theory Conference, 2015.
“Constructing Sacred Sexuality: Psychological Discourse in the Ex-gay Movement,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 2014.
“‘I felt His love wash over me’: Affective Truth in Evangelical Christianity,” American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, 2014.
“The Meaning of ‘Life’ in the Age of Biocide: The Temporality of Evangelical Ethics and Politics,” Society for the Anthropology of North America Conference, 2013.
“Morality,” part of a Keywords Panel on Austerity and Authority: Governing the Social in Crisis, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 2012.
“Longing for Heterosexual Belonging in Evangelical America,” Society for the Anthropology of Religion Bi-Annual Meeting, 2011.
“‘Family Values’: mediating the family and the politics of exclusion,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, 2008.
“Cybersupremacy and the new face and form of white supremacist activism,” American Ethnological Society Meeting, 2007.
“White Nationalism as Imperial Backlash,” Society for the Anthropology of North America Conference, 2006.
“Gender, Race, and Re-imagining the White Nation in Cyberspace,” National Association for Ethnic Studies Annual Conference, 2006.
“Ignorance and Bliss: White Femininity, Sexual Violence, and the Potential for Anti-racist Alliances,” Rock Ethics Institute’s Epistemologies of Ignorance Conference, 2004.
TEACHING RELATED ACTIVITIES
New Courses Introduced
The Politics of Reproductive Health, 2015-2019.
First Year Writing Seminar, Culture and Climate Change, 2018, 2019.
Community Health Research, 2017, 2020.
Making Racism Visible: Race and the Media, 2017.
Public Scholarship: Practicum in Community Research, 2018.
Additional Courses Taught
Sociocultural Filed Methods, 2017, 2019
Race in the Americas, 2016
Gender and Cultural Politics, 2014
Reviewer for: Gender and Society, City and Society, Peasant Studies, American Ethnologist, Sex Roles, Material Religion, University of Nebraska Press, Rowman & Littlefield, Journal of Homosexuality, Journal for the Cognitive Study of Religion, Ethnos, Cultural Studies, Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, Journal of Rural Studies, Transforming Anthropology, Religions
Served as an expert witness in a criminal trial in Massachusetts regarding a potential white Supremacist, 2018.
New York Academy of Sciences Anthropology Division Board member, 2012-2013,
Student Representative, Executive Board of the Association for Feminist Anthropology, American Anthropological Association, 2010-2012.
Graduate Student Editorial Collective Member, “Findings” Column, for AnthroNow Magazine. Responsible for quarterly contributions to column featuring recent anthropological work and editorial duties, 2009-2011.
Provided interviews and/or expert background information to Newsy, Radio Canada, News Channel 5 (Nashville), the Tennessean, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reforma (Mexico), China Global Television Network (China), al-Arabiya (Arabic language news channel), Associated Press, Newsweek, Reuters, NewsPoint360, USA Today, Deutsche Welle (Germany’s international broadcaster), NBC News, Foreign Policy, New York Times, The Hill, Refinery29, ABC News, Christian Science Monitor, BBC Mundo (Spanish), the Forward, All Things Considered, NPR, Busan Radio (Korea), KPFK’s Middle East In Focus (Los Angeles), NBC Nightly News, Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Planet America (Australia), PBS, Washington Post, USA Today, BBC5, BBC4, Inside Edition, TalkLine and MediaLine Interviews (Nashville call-in TV news shows).