Constance A. Jones, PhD (Sociology, Emory University) is a sociologist of religion who researches new religious movements, Hinduism and Buddhism in the West, Sociology of Religion, Sociology of Knowledge, Transdisciplinarity, Heuristic Methods, J. Krishnamurti, the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, and the meeting of East and West in intellectual history.
After receiving a doctorate with honors, she was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the Center for the Study of New Religious Movements of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Beginning with her doctoral dissertation on the caste system in India, she has pursued a life-long interest in the cultures and religions of India, including the adoption of Eastern beliefs and practices into Western systems of thought.
She has served on faculties of a number of graduate programs of religion, including the Graduate Theological Union; the Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara; and Columbia Theological Seminary. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Institutes of Health, the Ford Foundation, and the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars. As a Fulbright scholar in India, she taught at Banaras Hindu University and Vasanta College and conducted research at the Krishnamurti Study Center, Varanasi.
Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for the Study of American Religion, Santa Barbara, California and Waco, Texas; is an active member of CESNUR, Association for the Study of New Religions, Torino, Italy; and is a member of the International Advisory Board for “The Complete Teachings of J. Krishnamurti, 1910-1986.”
For the last 13 years, Connie has been a member of a multi-disciplinary team of scholars that investigates new religious movements around the world. The team has done research on a wide range of new religions, including the Kashi Community in Roseland, Florida; the Church Universal and Triumphant in Boseman, Montana; Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment in Yelm, Washington, the Movement for Spiritual Inner Awareness in Los Angeles, California; and the True Buddha School in Seattle, Washington. This research analyses the dissemination of Eastern thought in the West through religious movements with Hindu and Buddhist roots.
For the last six years, Connie has been a member of an international team of scholars working with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing researching “The Future of Religion in China.” Following four visits to mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, the team will publish a multi-disciplinary volume with analyses of religion and culture in traditional Chinese culture areas.
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Senior Author with James D. Ryan. Facts-on-File Press, New York. In Press. Publication date- February, 2007.
The Legacy of G.I. Gurdjieff. Torino, Italy: Elli-Di-Ci Press, February, 2005.
“Students in Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment: A Profile from Demographic Survey, Narrative and Interview.” in Mikael Rothstein and Reender Kranenborg (editors) New Religions in a Postmodern World. Renner Series, Volume 6. Copenhagen: Aarhus University Press, 2003.
“The Gurdjieff Foundations” in Gordon Melton (editor) Encyclopedia of Religions of the World. 4 Volumes. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2002.
“J. Krishnamurti” in Gordon Melton (editor) Encyclopedia of Religions of the World. 4 Volumes. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 2002.
“Feminist Research in the Sociology of Religion” in Arvind Sharma (editor) Methodology in Religious Studies: The Interface with Women’s Studies. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.
Taking Refuge: Research on the True Buddha School. J. Gordon Melton, Constance A. Jones, and Wai Lun Tam. Research on a new religious movement spreading rapidly around the world that combines traditional Chinese religion, Vajrayana Buddhism, and Taoism.
G.I. Gurdjieff from South Caucasus to Western World: His Influence on Spirituality, Thought and Culture in Italy, Europe, and the U.S.A. Constance A. Jones (editor). Papers presented at the International Gurdjieff Seminar, Tbilisi, Georgia, March 7, 2007.