Dr. Kristy Slominski, a UA Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, has been selected as one of 10 participants in the prestigious 2022 Young Scholars in American Religion Program.
Slominski, who joined the University of Arizona College of Humanities faculty in 2018, specializes in the interactions of religions, science and health in U.S. history and leads her department’s curriculum in Religious Studies for Health Professionals. She is the second UA faculty member selected for the Young Scholars in American Religion Program in the last three years, following Dr. Daisy Vargas.
“This long-standing program has had a tremendous impact on religious studies in the subfield of U.S. religions, pushing boundaries through the creative conversations and collaborations that these cohorts have produced,” she said. “When I saw the nine other scholars accepted to the program, I could already start to see the potential intersections that might emerge and the creative ways we might support one another’s work.”
Slominski will use these conversations to develop her work in two areas of American religion. She will be working on her second book, tentatively titled The Religious and Sexual Pasts of Common Objects. It will explore the early religious, sexual, and health contexts that motivated the invention of popular American products, from Kellogg’s cornflakes to basketball. She will also be developing research and teaching projects that build on her department’s concentration in religious studies for health professionals, including collaborations between religious studies and health humanities in the United States and internationally.
Slominski’s first book, Teaching Moral Sex: A History of Religion and Sex Education in the United States, was named one of Oxford University Press’s “2021 Most Read in Religion.” She was awarded the inaugural College of Humanities Dorrance Dean’s Award for Research and Entrepreneurialism for her project to develop “Health Humanities Training in Religion and Culture” for medical and nursing students.
The Young Scholars in American Religion program, at the Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture at IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, is a highly competitive early-career scholar award. In addition to its historic concentration on teaching and research, the Young Scholars Program now includes a seminar devoted to such other professional issues as constructing a tenure portfolio, publication, grant writing, and department politics.
With support from the Lilly Endowment, the program assists these early career scholars in the improvement of their teaching and research and in the development of professional communities. According to IUPUI, 185 faculty have gone through the program, which began in 1991. Each cohort includes 10 to 12 new faculty paired with two senior mentors, with four to five seminars over two years. Admission is highly competitive, with only about 10 percent of applicants accepted.
The 2022 cohort will work with two mentors, Jennifer Graber, Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Director of the Program in Native American and Indigenous Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and Omar M. McRoberts, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and The College at The University of Chicago.
“Religious Studies at the University of Arizona is emerging as a major center for the study of religion in the United States, and nothing makes this more evident than the selection of our faculty for the extremely prestigious Young Scholars in American Religion Program,” said Karen Seat, Head of the Department of Religious Studies & Classics. “It is truly amazing that our department now has had two faculty members selected for this program within the past three years. Some of the most prominent scholars in the field today participated in this program when they were rising stars. Early-career faculty in this program receive mentoring and networking opportunities with leading intellectuals nationwide.”