Senior Staff

Diana L. Eck

Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Director, The Pluralism Project



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Articles and Talks

Curriculum Vitæ [PDF]

Elinor J. Pierce

Research Director

Elinor began working for the Pluralism Project as a student field researcher in San Francisco; she was a section editor for the CD-ROM On Common Ground: World Religions in America and co-editor of World Religions in Boston: A Guide to Communities and Resources. She has been involved in "Religious Diversity News" since its inception in 1997. She developed the Women’s Networks Initiative, and was a content advisor for Acting on Faith: Women’s New Religious Activism in America. Elinor co-produced and co-directed the documentary film Fremont, U.S.A., together with Rachel Antell. She completed her B.A. in anthropology and international studies, with a core in religious studies, from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota (1988); she earned her Master of Theological Studies degree from the Harvard Divinity School (1996). Elinor currently leads the case study initiative.

Whittney Barth

Assistant Director

Whittney began her work with the Pluralism Project as a research associate for our Religious Diversity News in 2010 and continues to work on projects related to the interfaith infrastructure of the United States. In addition to studying religious pluralism academically, she has worked with several interfaith organizations including the Interfaith Youth Core, the Chautauqua Institution, and the Harvard Interfaith Collaborative. As assistant director, Whittney manages student research, manages our summer research programs, provides administrative and financial oversight, and participates in a number of local and national initiatives, conferences, and events on behalf of the Project. Whittney received her BA in comparative religion and American studies with a minor in political science from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) in 2008. She earned a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School (2011) where she completed a thesis project exploring the possibilities of integrating interfaith engagement and ecological awareness in response to the growing sense of "placelessness" in modern life.

Ryan R. Overbey


Ryan received his Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University in 2010 and his A.B. in Classics & Sanskrit and Religious Studies from Brown University in 2001. He has served as a web assistant and web developer for the Pluralism Project since 2006, and as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2010–2011. In addition to updating the content for the Pluralism Project website, he has undertaken a major rewrite of the site’s underlying architecture, and developed the infrastructure for the new edition of World Religions in Greater Boston.

Senior Research Associates

Brendan Randall

Senior Research Associate

Brendan Randall is a recovering lawyer and teacher who currently is studying religion, law and education as a doctoral candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). He is interested in how schools can prepare students to live in a religiously diverse democratic society, and his research focuses on civic education for pluralism. Brendan also has a Master of Education from HGSE in school leadership and a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School in religion, ethics, and politics. Before returning to graduate school, Brendan taught history, applied ethics and comparative religion at the Emma Willard School, an independent, all-girls boarding school in Troy, NY.

Research Interns

Cody Musselman

Research Intern

Cody is a Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School, focusing on the religions of the Americas, with a special interest in American Civil Religion and material culture. She obtained a BA in Religious Studies from Kalamazoo College. During her time at Kalamazoo, she studied abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand with the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute. For the past several years she has worked as an outdoor education instructor. In the future Cody aims to obtain a doctorate degree in religion.

Research Associates

Rachel Foran

Research Associate

Rachel is a first-year Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School, focusing on religion and the social sciences. She graduated in 2012 with a BA in religion from Carleton College where she spent two years conducting ethnographic fieldwork among Somali Muslim immigrants in rural Minnesota, examining the role of embodied and discursive religiosity in the self-formation of high school girls within that community. Rachel also spent a summer interning with the Interfaith Youth Core’s Campus Partnerships program and another summer volunteering in Bethlehem, Palestine. Besides all things related to religious studies, she also loves traveling, running, NPR podcasts, and ice cream.

Usra Ghazi

Research Associate

Usra is a Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School with a focus on religion, ethics, and politics. She completed her BA in religion and social justice at DePaul University and was previously on staff at Interfaith Youth Core in Chicago where she supported interfaith efforts at colleges and universities across the United States. Prior to that, she spent two years in Amman, Jordan teaching English and working with Islamica Magazine and the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre. In addition to research, she served as a contributor and editor of “The 500 Most Influential Muslims,” a resource co-published with Georgetown University's Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. In addition to her work at the Project this year, Usra is a Junior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions.

Sehrish Khan

Research Associate

Sarah is a Master of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School, specializing in Islamic studies, and women, gender, sexuality in religion. Her main areas of academic studies are interfaith dialogue, religious pluralism, religious tolerance, and ethics. She obtained a double BA from George Mason University in English and religious studies. During her senior year at GMU, she presented research at the George Mason University Research Symposium on spiritually egalitarian interpretations of Eve and Adam. In the future, she hopes to obtain a PhD in religious pluralism and master both Arabic and Hebrew.

Karen Terry

Research Associate

Karen is a Master of Theological Studies candidate in Religion, Ethics, and Politics at Harvard Divinity School. Her areas of interest include representation and religious identity, pluralism in the United States, and interfaith dialogue. She is a graduate of Haverford College where she earned a BA in religion and a minor in the history of art. Before moving to Cambridge, Karen worked at the Association for Jewish Studies in New York City and volunteered for Groundswell, a multi-faith social action movement housed at Auburn Seminary.

Danish Zaidi

Research Associate

Danish earned a BA from Georgetown University and is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. His research interests include the evolutionary patterns of Judaism and Islam in America, post-Freudian theology, and the politics of faith-based community organizing. While at Georgetown, Danish rowed for Georgetown Lightweight Crew, tutored for DC Reads, and served on student government and as a resident advisor for three years. He also emceed Rangila, Georgetown’s annual South Asian dance show. In the coming semesters and in his involvement with the Pluralism Project, Danish hopes to further explore the way religion influences and is influenced by America.