James Richardson, Ph.D., J.D.

Professor Emeritus


James T. Richardson is a professor emeritus of sociology and judicial studies. He received his Ph.D. from Washington State University in 1968 and his J.D. from the Old College, Nevada School of Law in 1986. He has been teaching at the University of Nevada, Reno since 1968. He directs the master's and doctoral judicial studies program for trial judges as well as the justice management master's program for others who work in the justice system.

Richardson is the co-author and editor of 10 books, including Organized Miracles, Money and Power in the New Religions, The Satanism Scare, Regulating Religion: Cases Studies from around the Globe and Saints under Siege: The Texas Raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints. He has also published numerous articles in the American Journal of Sociology, Sociology of Religion, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and other scholarly journals, including law reviews.

His areas of specialization include the sociology of law, the sociology of religion, social psychology of law, social movements, social and behavioral science evidence. He is currently engaged in comparative research on law and religion, including use of courts to exert social control over minority religions, treatment of Muslims in court, evidentiary issues in courts, jury studies and new minority faiths around the world.


  • Fokas, Effie and James T. Richardson (2018). The European Court of Human Rights and Minority Religions. Routledge. (This was a special issued of Religion, State, and Society, with some additional chapters included).
  • Possamai, Adam, J. T. Richardson, & Bryan Turner (eds.), The Sociology of Shari'a: Case Studies from around the World, New York: Springer, 2014.
  • Richardson, James T. & Francois Bellanger (eds.). Legal Cases Involving New Religions and Minority Faiths. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014.
  • Possamai, Adam, J.T. Richardson, & Bryan S. Turner (eds.) (2014). Legal Pluralism and Shari'a Law. London: Routledge (This was a originally special issue of Democracy and Security which we edited.)
  • Wright, S., & Richardson, J. T. (eds.). (2011). Saints under Siege: The Raid on the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints in Texas, New York University Press.
  • Beckford, J. A., & Richardson, J. T. (eds.). (2004). Challenging Religion: Essays in Honour of Eileen Barker. New York: Taylor & Francis. 
  • Richardson, J. T. (ed.). (2004). Regulating Religion: Case Studies from Around the Globe. New York: Kluwer.
  • Richardson, J. T., Best, J., & Bromley, D. (eds.). (1991). The Satanism Scare. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.
  • Richardson, J. T. (ed.). (1988). Money and Power in the New Religions. New York: Edwin Mellen.
  • Bromley, D., & Richardson, J. T. (eds.). (1983) The Brainwashing/Deprogramming Controversy: Sociological, Psychological, Legal and Historical Perspectives. Toronto; Edwin Mellen Press

Journal Articles:

  • Richardson, James T. (2018). "Eileen Barker: Dear friend and colleague". Religion and Society. Forthcoming.
  • Richardson, James T. (2018). "The European Court of Human Rights: Changes and challenges in the social construction of religious freedom". Religion-Stat-Gesellschaft. Forthcoming.
  • Richardson, James T. (2017) "Update on Jehovah's Witness cases before the European Court of Human rights: Implications of a surprising partnership." Religion, State & Society 45 (3-4): 232-248.
  • Fokas, Effie and J.T. Richardson (2017). The European Court of Human Rights and minority religions: messages generated and messages received." Religion, State & Society 45(3-4): 166-173.
  • Richardson, James T. (2017) Managing religion: Courts as ‘partners' and ‘third party partisans' in the social construction of religious freedom. Religioni e Societa - Religions and Human Rights Special Issue 32(87): 13-19.
  • Richardson, James T. (2015). Managing religion: The judicialization of religious freedom. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religio 54(1): 1-19. Presidential Address, at 2014 annual meeting in Indianapolis.
  • Thomas, Rebecca and James T. Richardson. (2015). Parental Alienation Syndrome: 30 years and still junk science. Judges' Journal 54 (3):22, 24.
  • Reichert, Jenny, J.T. Richardson, and Rebecca Thomas. (2015). "Brainwashing": Diffusion of a questionable concept in the legal system. International Journal for the Study of New Religions, 6(1): 3-26.
  • Richardson, J.T. and Brian Lee (2014). The role of the courts in the social construction of religious freedom in Central and Eastern Europe. Review of Eastern and Central European Law, 39: 291-313.
  • Wrights, S. and J.T. Richardson (2014). The Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints after the Texas state raid: Assessing the post-raid movement trajectory. Nova Religio, 17(4), 83-97.

Book Chapters:

  • Richardson, James T. (2018). "The role of Jehovah's Witnesses case law in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights." Forthcoming in Effie Fokas (ed.), Freedom of and Freedom from Belief at the European Court of Human Rights.
  • Richardson, James T. (2017). "The law, the courts, religious freedom, and the evolving pattern of jurisprudence in Western societies. In E. Gallagher (ed.), ‘Cult Wars in Historical Perspective: New and Minority Religions. London: Routledge, 69-80.
  • Richardson, James T. (2016), "Law and social control of religion." In David Yamane (ed.), Handbook on Religion and Society. New York: Springer, 485-502.
  • Richardson, James T. (2016). Legal dimensions of new religions. In James Lewis (ed.), Oxford Handbook of New Religions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 152-173. 
  • Springer, V.A., Martini, P.J., & Richardson, J.T. (2016). Online Crowdsourcing Methods for Identifying and Studying Minority Religious Groups. In S. Cheruvallil-Contractor & S. Shakkour (eds.), Digital Methodologies in the Sociology of Religion (pp. 27-37), New York: Bloomsbury.
  • Richardson, J.T. (2015). In defense of religious rights: Jehovah's Witness legal cases around the world. In Stephen Hunt (ed.), Handbook of Global Contemporary Christianity, 285-307. New York: Brill.
  • Aires, Wolf and J.T. Richardson (2015). Trial and Error: Muslims and Shari'a in the German Context. In Adam Possamai, J.T. Richardson, and Bryan Turner (eds.), The Sociology of Shari'a: Case Studies from Around the World, 139-154. New York: Springer.
  • Turner, Bryan and J.T. Richardson (2015). The future of legal pluralism. In Adam Possamai, J.T. Richardson, and Bryan Turner (eds.), The Sociology of Shari'a: Case Studies from Around the World, 305-314. New York: Springer.
  • Richardson, J. T. (2015). Contradictions, conflicts, dilemmas, and temporary resolutions: A sociology of law analysis of Shari'a in selected western societies. In Adam Possamai, J.T. Richardson, and Bryan Turner (Eds.), The Sociology of Shari'a: Case Studies from Around the World, 237-252. New York: Springer.
  • Richardson, J.T. and J. Shoemaker. (2014). "The resurrection of religion in America? The ‘tea' cases, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the war on drugs." In J.T. Richardson and Francois Bellanger (Eds.), Legal Cases involving New Religious Movements, and Minority Faiths, 71-88. London: Ashgate.


  • J.D., Nevada School of Law, 1986
  • Ph.D., Sociology, Washington State University, 1968
  • M.A., Texas Tech University, 1966
  • B.A., Texas Tech University, 1965