Miller Center

Miller Center National Fellowship

Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, the National Fellowship Program, a longstanding initiative of the Miller Center, will fall under the leadership of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at U.Va.. The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, created in 1980, currently offers the premier graduate fellowship and undergraduate scholarship at the University. To learn more about the National Fellows Program, including how to apply, click here.

Meet The Fellows

Kathryn Gardner - Political Science, University of Notre Dame

Project: Politicizing Religion: A Comparative Look at the Origins and Development of Muslim Incorporation Policies in France, Great Britain, and the United States, 1945–2008

Gardner photo

Gardner earned her Ph.D. in Political Science and M.A. International Relations from the University of Notre Dame and her B.A. in Political Science and International Studies from Miami University. Her research interests include international relations, comparative politics, institutionalization of Islam in Europe, and religion-state relations.

Gardner's dissertation addresses Western governmental policies toward Muslim minorities using controlled cross-case and within-case methods. She seeks to identify, analyze, and explain the origins and evolution of national Muslim incorporation policies and how and why they differ across three country cases: France, Great Britain, and the United States. Moreover, Gardner's dissertation focuses on how transnational events affected Western governments' perception of religion, specifically Islam, rendering it a central policy problem, and thereby explaining the timing of the policy shift and its construction as a "religious problem."


Larycia Hawkins - Political Science, University of Oklahoma

Project: Framing the Faith-Based Initiative: Black Church Elites and the Black Policy Agenda

Hawkins photo

Fellowship year: 2007

Mentor: Drew Smith, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Larycia Hawkins the Abd el-Kader Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia

Prior to obtaining her Ph.D., Hawkins worked in state government administering federal programs, including the Social Security Disability Programs and the Community Development Block Grant. 

Dr. Hawkins’ research interests lie at the intersection of race, religion, and politics.  She is currently working to publish her dissertation, Framing the Faith-Based Initiative: Black Church Elites and the Black Policy Agenda.  Her active research agenda includes projects that explore the extent to which black theology frames black political rhetoric and how black theology is reflected on black political agendas, like those of the  Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP; and a project that considers the political activism of black congregations outside the ambit of the black church (i.e. black Catholic parishes, United Church of Christ).

Hawkins's dissertation asked: Is the black agenda collective or disparate? Evidence of a disconnect between black mass opinion and the policy agenda of black political elites necessitates scholarly inquiry. For example, 81% of African Americans and Hispanics are favorably disposed toward government-funding of faith-based social services, higher than the 68% of White Americans and 75% of the national sample registering similar support. Yet, the legislative agendas of the Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP reveal the active efforts of black political and civic elites to oppose the Faith-Based and Community Initiative. Hawkins's dissertation examined this disconnect via the black policy agenda with reference to how the black church, the seminal institution of black society, figures into this puzzle. Her dissertation also determined which policy images contribute to the black political dynamic with regard to the Faith-Based and Community Initiative. Specifically, Hawkins demonstrated how black pastors define the Faith-Based and Community Initiative and how pastoral definitions of political issues influence the broader black political process, including black politicians and the black policy agenda.

Selected Recent Publications

Religion and American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives, with Amy Black and Doug Koopman (Pearson, 2011)


Peter Henne - Government, Georgetown University

Project: Varieties of Hesitation: Religious Politics and US-Muslim Counterterrorism Cooperation

Henne photo

Fellowship year: 2013

Mentor: John Owen, University of Virginia

Peter Henne is Assistant Professor of Political Science

Peter Henne is currently assistant professor of Political Science at the University of Vermont. Henne's research and teaching focus on the Middle East and global religious politics. He is particularly interested in the different ways states restrict or support religion, and what effect this has on their international and domestic politics. His first book—which will be published by Cambridge University Press—analyzes how Muslim states' relationship with Islam affects their counterterrorism policies; the study includes a large-n statistical analysis as well as in-depth case studies of Pakistan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates

Henne received his PhD in Governemnt from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Political Science from Vassar College. Henne's dissertation analyzes the effects of religion on Muslim states’ cooperation with U.S.-led counter-terrorism initiatives. Muslim responses to US counter-terrorism initiatives—both before and after 9/11—have been marked by both significant religiously-influenced opposition among Muslim societies and general cooperation on the part of Muslim states. At the same time, there has been great variation in the extent of Muslim states’ cooperation, and occasional periods of tension between the United States and Muslim states. Peter points to debates over the proper role of religion in society and the political and institutional conditions of religion in Muslim states to explain these patterns of opposition and cooperation. In response to religious-secular divide in recent decades, some Muslim states have established close ties to religious groups over recent decades, granting these groups disproportionate political power and giving the state an incentive to adopt religiously-motivated policies. Others have allied with secular groups, and maintained some autonomy from religious groups. When the former domestic situation coincides with a religiously-contentious international issue—like the American-led “Global War on Terror”—religious groups gain influence over the state’s foreign policy. This can result in tensions over US counter-terrorism initiatives. The latter group of states, in contrast, can insulate their foreign policy from domestic religious politics. Peter’s dissertation includes a quantitative study of counter-terrorism cooperation and case studies of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. 

Peter Henne was the lead researcher for a report the Pew Research Center released in February 2015. The report analyzes trends in government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion around the world. He has made several media appearances to promote the report, including on NPR's All Things Considered.

Selected Recent Publications

"Pew Study On Religion Finds Increased Harassment Of Jews." interview by Tom Gjelten, All Things Considered, NPR, February 26, 2015.

"Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities.Pew Research FactTank, February 26, 2015.

"A look at the damage governments inflict on religious property.Pew Research FactTank, July 10, 2014.

"How Religious Harassment Varies by region Across the Globe." with Angelina Theodorou, Pew Research FactTank, May 2, 2014.


Stephanie Muravchik - History, University of Virginia

Project: New Creatures in Christ: American Faith in an Age of Psychology

Muravchik photo

Fellowship year: 2006

Mentor: Gary Laderman, Emory University

Stephanie Muravchik is Associate Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

Muravchik’s research has focused on twentieth-century American religion and the way self and community have been historically constituted in the United States. 
Her first book, American Protestantism in an Age of Psychology challenges the claim that psychology has been used to weaken American religion, virtue and community. It shows how major psychospiritual movements since World War II, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and The Salvation Army, innovated a practical religious psychology that nurtured participants’ faith, fellowship, and responsibility. And by fostering community and responsibility among some of America’s most disaffected citizens, psychospiritual movements helped cultivate the kind of society that bolsters our liberal democracy.

In her dissertation, Muravchik explores how after World War II, though they did not realize it, Christians began a successful project of redeeming millions of alienated Americans by fortifying pastoral care, fellowships, and evangelism with secular ideas and techniques adapted from psychology. They thereby shepherded millions of the nation's most disaffected citizens – especially the homeless, addicts, the sick, and the dying – into faith's fold. Muravchik traced their efforts and its effects in three contexts: the psychiatric training of ministers, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and The Salvation Army rehabilitation centers. She ultimately argued that the model of selfhood developed in these settings, by merging individual happiness and self-determination with transcendent and communal relationships, could support an American democratic culture in the latter half of the 20th century.

Selected Recent Publications

American Protestantism in an Age of Psychology (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

The Cultural Contours of Parenthood: A Bibliographic Review.Hedgehog Review 15(3) 2013: 54-61.

“‘Be the Love of God Rather than Talk About It’: Pastors Study Psychology.History of Psychology 15(2) 2012: 145-160. 


Jon Shields - Political Science, University of Virginia

Project: The Democratic Virtues of Christian Right Activism

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Fellowship year: 2005

Mentor: James Wilson

Jon Shields is Associate Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College.

Shields's research interests include Christianity and democracy; social movements; and the politics of bioethics. 

Shields's dissertation focuses on the portrait of democratic education in Christian politics being principally complicated by the demands of political mobilization. That is, Christian leaders often need to mobilize apathetic or uninvolved citizens through more passionate exhortations before these deliberative norms can be taught at all. In fact, the culture war rhetoric that many scholars find so rampant in American politics is actually most commonly found in the context of mobilization. Shields argues that once Christian leaders have mobilized citizens, most then labor diligently to moderately and inform the passions they have provoked by encouraging activists to embrace deliberative norms before they practice public advocacy. He hypothesizes that this organizational tension, moreover, between the exigencies of mobilization and successful public activism highlights a deeper tension that democratic theorists need to confront between the ideals of a participatory and deliberative democracy.

Selected Recent Publications

The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right (Princeton University Press, 2009).

Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University. with Joshua M. Dunn (Oxford University Press, 2016).

The Real Campus Sexual Assault Problem—and How to Fix It.” with Bradford Richardson. Commentary, October 1 2015.

"Fighting Liberalism's Excesses: Moral Crusades During the Reagan Revolution." Journal of Policy History 26, no. 1 (2014).


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