Susan J. Palmer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Susan Jean Palmer (born April 14, 1946) is a Canadian sociologist and author whose primary research interest is new religious movements. She is a professor of religious studies at Dawson College in Westmount, Quebec,[1] and an adjunct professor at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She teaches sociology of religion courses.


Palmer received her Masters and PhD in Religion from Concordia.


She is best known for her 1994 book on gender issues, Moon Sisters, Krishna Mothers, Rajneesh Lovers: Women's Roles in New Religions.[2]

She has engaged in field research with at least 30 different groups and is considered to be a leading authority on the Twelve Tribes communities, the Nuwaubian Nation and Raëlism.

Her topics range from apocalyptic activity, prophecy, charisma, communalism, childrearing, racialist religions, to research ethics and methods in studying new religions. Her article "Caught Up in the Cult Wars: Confessions of a Canadian Researcher" [3] has reappeared in several anthologies.

Her most recent work has focused on religious freedom issues. The New Heretics of France[4] explores the state-sponsored persecution of religious minorities, and The Nuwaubian Nation[5] argues that Black Nationalist prophets in the US are targeted by networks of interest groups and rarely receive a fair trial.

Shortly before writing her book about them, Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion, she was blacklisted by the Raelians, with whom she still is friendly. According to Palmer, the blacklisting was a measure that allowed her to reflect upon the quoting her words out of context by journalists with which both she and the Raelians were displeased.[1]



  1. ^ a b (2004) Aliens Adored: Raël's UFO Religion. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
  2. ^ (1994) Moon Sisters, Krishna Mothers, Rajneesh Lovers: Women's Roles in New Religions. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press.
  3. ^ Palmer, Susan J. 2001. "Caught Up in the Cult Wars: Confessions of a Canadian Researcher." In Misunderstanding Cults, Searching for Objectivity in a Controversial Field, eds. Benjamin Zablocki and Thomas Robbins, 99-122. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  4. ^ Palmer, Susan, The New Heretics of France, Minority Religions, la Republique, and the Government-Sponsored 'War on Sects' " New York: Oxford University Press
  5. ^ Palmer, Susan 2010 The Nuwaubian Nation: Black Spirituality and State Control Farnham, UK: Ashgate
  6. ^ Wood, Louise (February 2010). "Sect Under Siege". Cardinal Cadence (PDF). 38 (1): 13–15. Under contract with Oxford University Press, Wright and Palmer are completing what they believe will be the first comprehensive study ever conducted of government raids on religious communities —from Central and West Texas to European locales. Storming Zion: Exploring State Raids on Religious Communities, is scheduled for publication in late 2011.