Brendan Newlon


Brendan specializes in religious studies, Islamic studies, community and interorganizational networks, and the social sector. His interdisciplinary approach to research blends ethnography, network science, discourse analysis, and translation studies. Recurring themes in his scholarship include community, networks, identity, diversity, and issues relating to languages and translation. Prior to joining CCL, Brendan was a Teaching Associate in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara where he taught courses on Islamic Traditions and Islam in Modernity. As an educator, he favors innovative teaching methodologies that engage students and facilitate long-term learning. This value led him to produce several short English translations of Chinese and Arabic Islamic texts, including rhyming translations that are designed for memorization as aids to learning and teaching.

Current Role

Brendan is a post-doctoral fellow advancing research in the field of nonprofit leadership and philanthropy, especially as it relates to the unique needs and concerns of minority religious communities in America.

Areas of Expertise

Religous Studies, Islamic Studies, Religions in America and China, Nonprofit Sector, Philanthropy, Leadership, Identity, Diversity, Translation, Education, Network Analysis

Educational Background

Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of California in Santa Barbara
M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California in Santa Barbara
B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of California in Santa Barbara with a minor in Chinese.

Professional Affiliations

Brendan is a member of the American Academy of Religion (AAR).

Curriculum Vitae

Brendan’s early graduate research on Islam in China focused on representations of Chinese Muslims and other minority identities, and his doctoral research explored the parallel topics of American Muslim identities and communities. In the course of this work, he developed a polythetic model of community that considers exchanges of discourse, networks of interaction, and aesthetic signalling practices used to express a community identity or affiliation.

See Brendan’s Curriculum Vitae

Select External Publications

Honors, Awards, Grants

  • Professor Charles Wendell Memorial Award in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. Presented by the Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara (2017).
  • US Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship for advanced Mandarin Chinese. Summers awarded: 2009 (in Shanghai) and 2010 (in Beijing). Academic years awarded: 2008 and 2009 (at University of California, Santa Barbara).

Current Projects

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