Winnifred F. Sullivan


Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University


Winnifred F. Sullivan is Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University.  Trained as a lawyer and an historian of religion, she is interested in religion as a broad and complex social and cultural phenomenon that historically both generates law and is regulated by law.  She is the author of three books analyzing legal discourses about religion, primarily in the context of actions brought to enforce the religion clauses of the First Amendment and related legislation: Paying the Words Extra: Religious Discourse in the Supreme Court of the United States (Harvard 1994), The Impossibility of Religious Freedom (Princeton 2005), and Prison Religion: Faith-based Reform and the Constitution (Princeton 2009). Her fourth book, Ministries of Presence, under contract with the University of Chicago Press, focuses on the legal regulation of government chaplaincies such as those within VA hospitals, and explores the ways in which partnerships between government and private organizations combine to create an understanding of the nature of the religious needs of Americans. It argues that as religious authority has shifted from institutions to the individual a new kind of religious universalism is emerging in these private-public partnerships. She is also editor (with Robert A. Yelle and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo) of After Secular Law (Stanford, 2011).