rys_web1As a historian of modern America, my work focuses on pluralism in American society by examining how politics, law, and religion interact in institutions.

My first book, Enlisting Faith: How the Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion and State in Modern America (Harvard University Press, 2017), traces the uneven processes through which the military struggled with, encouraged, and regulated religious pluralism over the twentieth century.

My current research turns to health care and explores the rise of institutional and corporate rights of conscience. Contemporary debates over conscience rights often focus on religious refusal by for-profit businesses, yet the first federal health care conscience clause emerged from advocacy by leaders of some non-profit religious hospitals. At the same time, prior to the emergence of conscience rights, religious hospitals often framed themselves as secular, rather than religious, institutions. This book therefore traces how, when, and why hospitals pivoted between secular and religious identities to rethink the corporate origins of conscience rights and thus the relationship between federal funding and religious freedom over the twentieth century.

I am an associate professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, where I am also an affiliate of the religious diversity cluster of the Othering and Belonging Institute (OBI), the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR), the Center for Jewish Studies, and the Center for Research on Social Change (CRSC). Previously, I was a fellow in the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (2016-18) and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis (2014-16). I received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan in 2014, an M.A. in Social Sciences in Education from Stanford University in 2005, and a B.A. in English from Williams College in 2002.