Joseph DeFrank Scholar of Religion, History, and Philosophy


Joseph DeFrank is a native of Canton Georgia, on the north side of the Atlanta metro-area. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Religious Studies at the University of Alabama. An alumnus of Young Harris College, he graduated with two Bachelor of Arts degree in ReligIous Studies and History in 2016. His undergraduate theses attempted to map the relationships between “cult” and “new religious movement,” as well as challenge commonly held assumptions about “religion.”

Areas of Interest

What is the difference between religious and nationalist symbols, chants, and ritual? What common elements of “religion” do nationalisms probably have?
Why are New Religious Movements treated as merely popular religion, as though they must have less substance than seemingly established religious institutions?

Joseph’s research interests are mainly focused on nationalisms, new religious movements, challenging assumptions of “religion”, and making informed theories about the future of “religion.” His area of interest are mainly centered in North America, particularly the United States. Joseph employs a variety of methods in his scholarship, particularly those grounded in comparison.


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