Leslie Ribovich is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Religion in the Americas subfield. She specializes in twentieth century United States religious history. Her research explores how race and gender inform narratives of secularization and religious expressions of national identity. Leslie received a B.A. in Religion and English (with a Theatre Concentration) from Barnard College and an M.A. in Religion from Princeton University.
In her dissertation, Leslie provides a history of the racial and religious content of moral education in mid-twentieth century New York City (NYC) public schools to illuminate how historical actors negotiated and understood secularization on the ground. She asks how religious norms shaped ideas about right and wrong in NYC public schools in a key period of Supreme Court religion clause cases that declared devotional exercises in public schools unconstitutional. To address this question, she studies curricula on moral and spiritual values, juvenile delinquency prevention, and racial integration, as well as their political ramifications, through examination of archival sources, legal databases, and visual and material culture.
Leslie has coordinated ongoing campus programs, including the Gender, Sexuality and Religion Working Group, the Religion Department’s “What is…?” Pedagogy Colloquium, and the Ethics and Politics of Ethnography series, which she founded. Leslie has taught in two New Jersey State prisons and served as an Assistant in Instruction for the department. Her research has been supported by Princeton’s Center for the Study of Religion and the Beinecke Scholarship. In 2016-17, Leslie serves as a Writing Fellow in Princeton’s Writing Center.
Field of Study: Religion in the Americas
Dissertation Title: Moral Education in Devotion’s Wake: A History of Teaching Religion, Morality, and Race in 1950s-60s New York City Public Schools
Dissertation Adviser: Professor Judith Weisenfeld
Expected Completion Date: June 2017