I am sixth year doctoral candidate in American Religious Cultures at Emory University, working under the direction of Gary Laderman, PhD. My research focuses generally on the relationship between religion and capitalism and the way in which the market structures and is structured by religious practices. My dissertation, entitled “The Libertarian Ethic and The Spirit of Global Capital,” examines the growing interest in spirituality in business among some some business leaders, thinkers, and firms in contemporary American society. In particular, I am interested in how various localized practices identified as “spiritual” are tied to broad socio-economic trends, specifically globalization and neoliberal political projects. I have conducted ethnographic research in a variety of settings, including a case study of a West Coast coffee chain, various professional groups in New York City, as well as a case study of Atlanta-area Starbucks Coffee employees.
Before pursuing graduate studies, I was a successful retail manager and corporate trainer, where I learned two things: first, I am passionate about art of teaching and believe that democratic citizenship requires a education. Second, I learned that when many of my coworkers spoke about their jobs, they often used religious terminology to emphasis the higher purpose of their work, which gave me the initial curiosity to research precisely why many Americans imbue their experience of work with spiritual dimensions.