Dr. Diana L. Eck
Director, The Pluralism Project at Harvard University Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies, Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Member of the Faculty of Divinity, Harvard University
Diana L. Eck is founder and director of the Pluralism Project at Harvard University. She serves on the Committee on the Study of Religion in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She is also a member of the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies, a member of the Faculty of Divinity, and Master of Lowell House, one of Harvard’s twelve undergraduate residential Houses. She received her B.A from Smith College (1967) in Religion, her M.A. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (1968) in South Asian History, and her Ph.D. from Harvard University (1976) in the Comparative Study of Religion.
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.
Email Research Director Elinor Pierce
Lexi Gewertz comes to the Pluralism Project from the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School, where she coordinated hundreds of events in her five years as the Coordinator of Educational Programming. Before her time at the CSWR, Lexi spent three years as an associate at Combined Jewish Philanthropies where she worked to engage young adults in Boston’s vibrant Jewish community. She graduated from Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Theological Studies degree and earned her B.A. in philosophy and religious studies at Colgate University (Hamilton, NY). During her time as a student at HDS, Lexi interned at the Pluralism Project, researching Boston’s Jewish and Muslim community. She is still active in Boston’s Jewish community, particularly around interfaith issues. She is a recent alumna of the PresenTense Social Entrepreneurial Fellowship, where she explored ways to further support the interfaith community through her fledgling interfaith greeting card venture.
Email Assistant Director Alexis Salomone
Dr. 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. Ryan has transitioned the Project through several generations of technology, from hand-crafted PHP and HTML pages, to CakePHP, and most recently to WordPress. He has also worked to implement the frontend designs for World Religions in Greater Boston (2009), America’s Interfaith Infrastructure (2011), On Common Ground (2013), and the redesigned pluralism.org (2016). Ryan currently serves as Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at Wesleyan University.
Dr. Jennifer Howe Peace
Dr. Jennifer Howe Peace is Associate Professor of Interfaith Studies at Andover Newton Theological School and is a founding co-director of CIRCLE (the Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education). Author of numerous articles and essays on interfaith cooperation, Dr. Peace co-edited My Neighbor’s Faith: Stories of Inter-Religious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation (Orbis 2012). She serves as one of the publishing editors of the Journal of Inter-Religious Studies and State of Formation. Dr. Peace has been an interfaith organizer and educator since the 1990’s with leadership roles in the early days of the United Religions Initiative, the Interfaith Youth Core, and the Daughters of Abraham book groups.
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.
2016 Summer Interns
Jaisy Joseph is a doctoral candidate of Systematic Theology at Boston College. She obtained her masters of divinity at Harvard Divinity School and first worked on the Case Study Initiative with the Pluralism Project during that time. Returning to create a follow-up case on her study of Eastern Christian migrants in the Boston area, she also looks forward to contributing to the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Pluralism Project. Recognizing how much this organization has helped develop her own ecumenical and interreligious interests, she looks forward to once again researching the changing religious landscape in North America.
Natalie Reynoso is soon to begin her second and last year as a Masters of Theological Studies candidate at Harvard Divinity School. She studies the intersection of gender, the body, and the flesh in Late Antiquity. However, she is also interested in comparative, contemporary studies of Muslim and Catholic women. It is this interest in interfaith dialogue and religious pluralism that led her to working at Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions, and now, the Pluralism Project. Natalie is looking forward to researching and learning more about the diverse religious landscape in America. She is also interested in how best to make interfaith dialogue productive within a context of religious pluralism.
Emma Woo is a rising Senior at Harvard College studying History of Science with a focus in the history of Women in Medicine. She is also pursuing a secondary concentration in Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she has lived in a variety of international environments, including two years spent at the United World College of the Atlantic and has been surrounded by religious diversity for as long as she can remember. At Harvard, she is the president of the undergraduate interfaith forum, through which she is an advocate for interfaith dialogue, campus-based religious support structures, and practices that support religious pluralism. In joining the Pluralism Project as an intern for the summer of 2016, she is looking forward to expanding her knowledge of local religious diversity and her vocabulary of religious pluralism in America. Emma is especially interested in religious practices that involve healing and music.