Dr. Carr researches the individual/social interplay in gender, sexual, ethnic, and religious identity construction.
Dr. Carr researches the interplay between the individual and the
social in gender, sexual, ethnic, and religious identity construction.
Since 2005 Dr. C Lynn Carr has increasingly turned her scholarly
attention to issues of religious identification. The bulk of this work
has focused on a mixed-methodological project that culminated in a book:
A Year in White: Cultural Newcomers to Lukumi and Santería in the
United States (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, January
2016). Focusing on cultural newcomers to Afro-Cuban, Orisha worshipping
religious traditions known as Lukumi, Santería, and Regla de Ocha in the
United States, A Year in White explores timely issues concerning
religious identification in the globalizing, multi-cultural contemporary
U.S., including insider/outsider status, belonging, markedness, ethnic
diversification, and faith.
In Lukumi religious tradition, new initiates into the priesthood –a
status that is much more common than in Abrahamic traditions—are
referred to as iyawo for a year and a week. During the iyawo year,
novices endure a host of prohibitions; among others, they must wear only
white, cover their heads, dress modestly, avoid going out at night,
and, with few exceptions, forgo alcohol, parties, being photographed,
and enjoying most public spaces such as restaurants and movies. Yet
rather than being sequestered in traditional communal settings, most
iyawo in the U.S. today undergo this intensive and extended religious
ritual while going about their lives – attending work or school,
negotiating everyday familial and marital relations, shopping,
commuting, and even attending mainstream religious services.
A Year in White’s highly “storied” examination is informed by three
social scientific methodologies, each working to enhance the others: 52
in-depth interviews, an online survey (N=197), and nearly a decade of
auto-ethnographic fieldwork. It provides an intimate investigation of an
under-studied cultural phenomenon as a strategic site for exploring
issues of identity in diversifying U.S. society.
Dr. Carr’s other published scholarship has focused on the
relationship between social power and individual agency within gender
and sexual identification, consciousness, and practice; the importance
of cultural classification schemes in gender and sexual identity and
cognitions; and distinctions between and connections among sex, gender
and sexual identifications and practices.
Dr. Carr teaches a variety of introductory and advanced undergraduate
courses on gender, sexuality, religion, deviance and conformity,
American society, and social inequalities.