About

JT HEADSHOTI recently completed my Ph.D. in Political Science (political theory, American politics) and the Women’s Studies certificate program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. My areas of interest include political theory, American political thought, feminist and queer theory, and most recently, religious thought as political thought. This year I’m working remotely as a Postdoctoral Editorial Fellow with The Graduate Center’s Committee for the Study of Religion, serving as a co-editor (along with Bryan Turner and Yuri Contreras-Vejar) of an edited volume titled Exploring Happiness: Historical and Comparative Analyses on Human Fulfillment.

I have 3 years of teaching experience at Brooklyn College, where I taught classes in Contemporary Political Theory; American Political Thought; and Sexuality, Religion, and Politics (a topical qualitative methods course). I have also served as a Writing Across the Curriculum Fellow at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, where I helped train faculty in writing pedagogy for 2 years.

My dissertation, titled Thine Is the Kingdom: The Political Thought of 21st Century Evangelicalism, explores the revival of America’s largest religious group over the last 15 years. Despite renewed attention to religion and ethics in political theory, there is a notable absence of inquiry into evangelicalism. Social scientists have studied Christian right policy in the late 20th century, but how has the movement shifted in the new millennium and what are the theoretical beliefs that undergird those shifts? By reading popular devotional writings as political texts, Thine is the Kingdom distills a three-part evangelical political thought: 1) a theory of time in which teleological eternity complements retroactive re-birth; 2) a theory of being wherein evangelicals learn to strive after their godly potential through a process of emotional self-regulation; and 3) a theory of personhood wherein identity develops concurrently within the evangelical subculture and today’s (neo)liberal ethos. Ultimately, I argue that an evangelical revival has been transforming the movement from a policy-driven politics to an ontologically driven politics since the turn of the millennium—innovatively pivoting it away from the Christian right. Whereas most secular observers focus on the internal contradictions of evangelicalism, my close reading and interpretation of devotional texts instead describes a series of creative tensions that work to strengthen religious belief, support a strategic revivalism, and catalyze evangelicalism as a new kind of socio-political movement.