University Profiles

C Lynn Carr

C Lynn Carr, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work


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.



  • Ph.D., Rutgers, The State University
  • M.A., Rutgers, The State University
  • B.A., Antioch College

Academic Distinctions

  • 2009 The New (Essentialist) Sexual Fluidity: Review of Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire, by Lisa M. Diamond. Sex Roles, July 2009.
  • 2007 Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (FSSS) Grants-in-aid Research Grant for Sexuality and Gender among Orisha Worshipping 'Outsiders'
  • 1999 Outstanding Student Paper, Social Psychology Section, American Sociological Association.

Office Phone
(973) 761-7443


Office Location
Room 570
Jubilee Hall


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