The MSU Graduate College recently awarded the Distinguished Thesis Award in the Humanities to Mr. Riley Brown, who graduated in spring 2022 with a Master’s Degree in Religious Studies.
Riley’s thesis is called “A Nation of Priests: Authority, Expertise, and the Religious Nones,” and he argues therein that the religiously unaffiliated are akin to self-appointed experts in their own religious beliefs. He makes the provocative argument that theories of secularization based on authority fall short when it comes to understanding the rise of the “Nones” in America’s religious field. Owing in part to his outstanding thesis research, Riley has entered the Master of Divinity program at Harvard Divinity School.
This marks the eighth Distinguished Thesis Award that Religious Studies M.A. students have earned since 2004. Congratulations to Riley Brown and all of our REL M.A. alumni!