Often, we see statistics about religion and contemporary life. Americans are less likely to go to church, more likely to develop religious lives that pull from multiple religious traditions, and increasingly likely to marry outside of their own religious traditions or to have parents who come from more than one religious tradition. The religious “nones” are on the rise. What do all of these changes mean for how Americans actually experience their lives? What are the ramifications for our increasingly religiously diverse society? And how do these changes shape Unitarian Universalist communities and identities?
Professor Samira K. Mehta is a scholar of religion and the politics of the American family. She is particularly interested in how families create meaning, about their practices, identities, and senses of morality and how, in turn, outside forces (religious leaders and institutions, politicians, and creators of popular culture) construct the American family through theology, legislation, and public discourse. Her first book, Beyond Chrismukkah: Christian-Jewish Interfaith Families in the United States (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, March 2018), asks these questions in terms of Christian-Jewish interfaith families from 1965 to the present. Her new project, God Bless the Pill? Contraception, Sexuality, and American Religion, considers the role of liberal religious actors in increasing women’s access to contraception in the second half of the twentieth century.
Professor Mehta gave three lectures: