Kristen Lucken lived and worked in Moscow and the Former Yugoslavia from 1990-1998, during a time of great historical change in Central and Easter Europe. Witnessing the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Balkans war, she tried to make sense of the burgeoning ethnic and religious nationalism that emerged in these regions. After returning to the United States, she joined Peter Berger at the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University as an Earhart Fellow and completed her doctorate there.

Dr. Lucken's research focuses on ethnic and religious identity in an age of globalization. She is particularly interested in the religious and educational lives of second generation immigrants and the ways social institutions can facilitate or hinder their incorporation. A three-year study of Bosnian refugees living in New England unveiled the many ways religious institutions have eased their integration following resettlement. A four-year project with Peggy Levitt focused on second generation Indian-Americans and the transnational nature of their moral and religious development.