NSRN Advisory Board

The advisory board shares responsibility for the ongoing activities of the network, in addition to its overall direction and goals. All advisory board members have been involved with the NSRN since its inception in 2008. In addition to the advisory board, a small team of researchers are actively involved in the maintenance and updating of NSRN Online.

The NSRN is grateful for the support of Nicholas Gibson, Chris Bunn and David Lehmann at the University of Cambridge, and Stephen Bullivant (St Mary’s University College, Twickenham)

Press queries should be directed to the editor or to any of the NSRN directors. For  email addresses, please follow the hyperlinks at each person’s name.

Dr. Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme

Sociology, University of Waterloo, Canada


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Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo (Canada). She completed her DPhil in sociology at the University of Oxford in 2015. Her research interests include quantitative methods, sociology of religion, immigration and ethnicity and political sociology.

Dr. Wilkins-Laflamme currently has 16 articles published in top Canadian and international peer-reviewed journals in the fields of sociology of religion, religious studies and political science, including the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Canadian Review of Political Science, Sociology of Religion, Canadian Review of Sociology, Studies in Religion, and the British Journal of Sociology. She is co-author of the 2020 book None of the Above: Nonreligious Identity in the U.S. and Canada, with New York University Press.

Dr. Lori Beaman

Classics and Religious Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada

Advisory Board Member, Past-Director

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Dr Lori G. Beaman is the Canada Research Chair in Religious Diversity and Social Change, and a Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. She is the author of The Transition of Religion to Culture in Law and Public Discourse (Routledge, 2020), Deep Equality in an Era of Religious Diversity (Oxford University Press, 2017) and the co-author of Beyond Accommodation: Everyday Narratives of Muslim Canadians (University of British Columbia Press, 2018), with Jennifer A. Selby and Amélie Barras. She led a global team of 37 researchers as Principal Investigator of the 7-year SSHRC funded Religion and Diversity Project and is the principal investigator of Nonreligion in a Complex Future, a SSHRC-funded Partnership grant.

Her research interests include: how nonreligious and religious people can coexist in an increasingly diverse and complex world; the concept of deep equality as an alternative to tolerance and accommodation in responding to religious diversity; and the idea of reclaiming enchantment as a way to reformulate our relationship with the environment and address issues of climate change and human/non-human animal relations.

She is co-editor for the International Studies in Religion and Society (Brill) and senior editor of Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies (Springer). Dr Beaman is the recipient of the 2017 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Impact Award in the Insight Category and holds an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University.

Dr. Chris Cotter

Sociology and Religious Studies, The Open University, UK

Advisory Board Member


Dr Christopher R. Cotter is a Religious Studies scholar by training, specialising in all things ‘non-religous’, and is Staff Tutor and Lecturer in Sociology and Religious Studies at the OU. Previously, he has held research and teaching positions at the University of Edinburgh and University of Chester. Chris joined the NSRN team in 2011 as website editor, and served as co-director from 2014 to 2020. He is author of The Critical Study of Non-Religion: Discourse, Identification and Locality (Bloomsbury, 2020), co-editor of Social Identities between the Sacred and the Secular  (Routledge, 2013), After World Religions: Reconstructing Religious Studies (Routledge, 2016), and New Atheism: Critical Perspectives and Contemporary Debates (Springer, 2017) and has also published journal articles, book chapters and reviews in related areas. He is also co-editor of the NSRN’s open-access journal Secularism & Nonreligion. co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of the The Religious Studies Project podcast, CEO of The Religious Studies Project Association (SCIO) and Honorary Treasurer of the British Association for the Study of Religions.

Dr. Lois Lee

Sociology, University College London, UK

Founder and Treasurer


Dr Lois Lee is Research Associate at the Religion and Political Theory Centre at the School of Public Policy, UCL, and founding director of the Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network (NSRN). She is co-editor of the academic journal Secularism and NonreligionNSRN Online and the De Gruyter book series, Religion and Its Others: Studies in Religion, Nonreligion and Secularity. She has published widely on social scientific approaches to nonreligion, atheism and secularism, in academic journals (e.g. Religion, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Social Analysis) and in edited collections, including The Oxford Handbook of Atheism (2013) and The Oxford Handbook of the Study of Religion (forthcoming). She has co-edited volumes, including Negotiating Religion (Ashgate, forthcoming) and Secularity and Non-Religion (Routledge, 2013), and journal special issues with Religion (2014) and the Journal of Contemporary Religion (2012). Her first monograph, Recognizing the Non-religious: Reimagining the Secular was published by OUP in September 2015.

Dr. Johannes Quack

Anthropology, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Advisory Board Member


Johannes Quack is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Zurich. His (ethnographic) research interests include popular Hinduism; secularity, secularism and nonreligion; therapeutic pluralism; knowledge (trans)formations; biographic and ethnographic methods.

Quack’s main publications include Disenchanting India: Organized Rationalism and Criticism of Religion in India (OUP, New York 2012), The Problem of Ritual Efficacy (OUP, New York 2010), Religion und Kritik in der Moderne (LIT, Münster 2012), Asymmetrical Conversations: Contestations, Circumventions and the Blurring of Therapeutic Boundaries (Berghahn, New York 2014), Religious Indifference: New Perspectives From Studies on Secularization and Non-religion (Springer, Berlin 2017) and The Diversity of Nonreligion: Contested Normativities and Relations (Routledge, Abingdon 2020). See his website [in German].

Dr. Ryan Cragun

Sociology, University of Tampa, USA

Advisory Board Member

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Ryan T. Cragun, Ph.D, is Professor of Sociology and the Co-Director of the Honors Program at The University of Tampa.

He is the author of Christianity and the Limits of Minority Acceptance in America: God Loves (Almost) Everyone (Lexington Books, 2018) with J. Sumerau and the co-editor with Christel Manning and Lori Fazzino of Organized Secularism in the United States: New Directions in Research (de Gruyter 2017). Recent articles include “Mapping Religion’s Other: A Review of the Study of Nonreligion and Secularity,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 58(2):319-335 with Jesse Smith; “Sunday Football or Church? A Case Study in Substitutes and Complements,” Review of Religious Research 61(2):169-187, with John Stinespring and Andrew Tillman; and “Complicating Marginalisation: The Case of Mormon and Nonreligious College Students in a Predominantly Mormon Context,” Journal of Beliefs & Values 39(3):317-329 with Kim Abunuwara and J. Sumerau.

His research interests fall broadly into three areas: the study of Mormonism, nonreligion, and secularization. Within these areas, his interests are far ranging. He has explored the factors that lead to the growth and decline of Mormonism around the world as well as gender and sexual dynamics within the LDS Church. In his research on the nonreligious, he has explored discrimination and prejudice faced by nonbelievers and the history and dynamics of the secular movement in the US. All of his research falls within a broadly defined secularization framework and helps to illustrate how society is slowly becoming less religious in various ways.

Cragun was a co-founder and co-editor of Secularism & Nonreligion (Ubiquity Press), the first journal dedicated to the study of secular individuals and phenomena, from 2011 until 2018. His article, “Contemporary Religion and the Cisgendering of Reality,” Social Currents 3(3):293-311, with J. Sumerau and Lain Mathers, was selected as the Article of the Year by the ASA Religion Section in 2016. He also also served as an expert witness in several prominent court cases in both the US and Canada involving members of both fundamentalist and mainstream Mormon religions.

Dr. Christel Gärtner

Research Fellow / Mentorin, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität

Advisory Board Member

Gärtner_Christel (002)Dr. Christel Gärtner is an associate Professor of Sociology and mentor in the graduate school at the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics. Dynamics of Tradition and Innovation” at the University of Münster, Germany. She is the head of the international research project “The transmission of religion across generations: a comparative international study of continuities and discontinuities in family socialization”, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. She also leads two research projects investigating Friday sermons in German and Austrian mosques. Since 2021 she is PI in the graduate school “Regional Regulation of Religious Plurality in Comparison” (RePliV), a cooperation project between the Universities of Bochum and Münster. Christel Gärtner is co-author of several edited books, among them: Exploring Islam beyond Orientalism and Occidentalism. Sociological approaches (Springer Fachmedien: 2021), Schlüsselwerke der Religionssoziologie (Springer Fachmedien: 2019), and Umstrittene Säkularisierung: Soziologische und historische Analysen zur Differenzierung von Religion und Politik (Berlin University Press: 2014).

Her research interests include Sociology of religion and culture (religious and secular transformation processes, (non-)religion in diverse, plural and secularized societies); social theories and micro-sociology (religious and non-religious socialization, youth and adolescence, biographies, historical and familial generations); methods of hermeneutic and historical social research.

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Page updated July 12, 2022.