Affiliated Fellows

L. Benjamin Rolsky

L. Benjamin Rolsky received his PhD from Drew University in American Religious Studies. His work has appeared in a variety of academic and popular venues including Method and Theory in the Study of Religion and the Journal of the American Academy of Religion as well as The Christian Century, The Los Angeles Review of Books, CNN Opinion, and the Religion and Culture Forum at the University of Chicago. His research and teaching interests include religion and politics, the study of popular culture, and critical theory. Rolsky’s first monograph, The Rise and Fall of the Religious Left: Politics, Television, and Popular Culture in the 1970s and Beyond, was published last year with Columbia University Press. Once complete, he plans to begin research on a second book project that examines the history of the New Christian Right across the 20th century.

Heather Steffen

Heather Steffen is a scholar of 20th- and 21st-century U.S. literature and culture whose research investigates how concepts of labor, learning, and public service are produced through the interplay between rhetorical practices and material conditions in American universities. Her book project, Useful Work: Imagining Academic Labor in the American University, examines how professors, teacher-scholars, and para-academics theorize academic labor in critical and narrative writing. The book identifies four models of academic labor operating in faculty discourse since the emergence of the modern American university—professional, unionist, vocational, and entrepreneurial—and explores how the tensions between these models influence key debates in higher education, such as those surrounding academic freedom, casualization, or graduate education. Before coming to Rutgers, Heather earned a Ph.D. in Literary and Cultural Studies at Carnegie Mellon University, taught as a lecturer in the Writing Program at UC Santa Barbara, and researched metrics and measurement in higher education as an NEH-funded postdoctoral scholar in UCSB’s English Department and Chicano Studies Institute.