About the Association

Profiles of Newly Elected

2016 President-Elect, 2017 President, and 2018 Past-President

Michael O. Emerson is the Allyn & Gladys Cline Professor of Sociology at Rice University.  He has authored several award-winning books on religion, co-authored a text on religion (Religion Matters: What Sociology Teaches Us about Religion in our World, Allyn & Bacon 2010) and co-edited Sociology of Religion: A Reader (2nd edition, Allyn & Bacon 2010).  He has also published several dozen articles on religion, and directs PALS, a national panel study of religion.   He currently serves on the ASR council (2013-2015), and has also been on the association’s Nominations and Publications Committees. He previously served as Chair of the Religion Section of the American Sociological Association. Since 2010 he has served as an Associate Editor of the Sociology of Religion and since 2009 on the Editorial Board of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Michael O. Emerson’s Vision Statement

ASR is on the rise, a growing, vibrant organization.  This reality exists due to the efforts of its past leadership, its executive officer, and its members.  To continue this trajectory, my vision is three-fold: (1) As scholars, access to funding is of great importance.  If elected I will appoint a committee to research what funding is available for religion scholars, and to propose how we can expand that pool.  We will ask how there can be more funding and what can we do as an organization to facilitate greater access for more of our members; (2) Our annual meeting is at the heart of our organization, the place where we gather, present, dialogue, and network.  I will put great care into working with a team to plan the best meeting possible, being sensitive to the desires and needs of our membership; and (3) I will work with the ASR team to showcase the strengths our organization and its journal, Sociology of Religion.

Council Members Elected to Serve until 2018

Mary Ellen Konieczny is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Faculty Fellow in the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame.  She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago (2005), and holds an M. M. Div. from Weston Jesuit School of Theology (1985).  Her research interests revolve around culture, social theory, gender, family, and local cultures and public politics. Her book, The Spirit’s Tether: Family, Work, and Religion among American Catholics (Oxford University Press 2013), is an ethnographic study of religion, family, and moral polarization.  Her second book project addresses religion in the military, with the US Air Force Academy as the focal case.  Positing that the military is a microcosm of society despite its particularism, she explores how religion is intertwined with religious freedom issues, pluralism, and gender relations, examining how historical tensions between disestablishment and free exercise affect the present.

Lisa D. Pearce is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She is also a Research Fellow at the Carolina Population Center.  Pearce studies the religious and spiritual lives of youth and their connections to educational and career aspirations as well as family attitudes and behaviors.  Her research is based in both the United States and Nepal and uses a mix of research methods.  Pearce’s publications have appeared in journals such as American Sociological Review and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.  She was a key member of The National Study of Youth and Religion’s (NSYR) research team, serving as Co-Principal Investigator from 2004-2008.  Using the NSYR data, Pearce and Melinda Lundquist Denton co-authored A Faith of Their Own:  Stability and Change in the Religiosity of America’s Adolescence (2011, Oxford University Press).  Pearce served on the ASA’s Religion Section Council from 2010-2013.

Jeremy Uecker (Ph.D., University of Texas–Austin) is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Baylor University. His research interests include religion and youth, religion and family, and religion and stratification. He is author of numerous journal articles as well as co-author of the book Premarital Sex in America: How Young Adults Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying (Oxford University Press, 2011). His current religion-related projects examine differences in the quality of the colleges students attend by their religious upbringing, the role of family formation in bringing young adults back to religious institutions, and the effects of joint religious activities on married couples’ sexual satisfaction. He served as Program Chair for the 2014 ASR meeting, was a member of the 2014 ASA Religion Section Student Paper Award Committee, and is on the editorial board of Sociology of Religion, the official journal of the ASR.


Profiles of Winners of Past Elections

2015 President-Elect, 2016 President, and 2017 Past-President

Lori Beaman is the Canada Research Chair in the Contextualization of Religion in a Diverse Canada, Director of the Religion and Diversity Project, and Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa.  She has been a member of ASR since her graduate studies.  Over the years, ASR has been an important intellectual home for her and her graduate students, and she has served the Association as a member of council and of several committees, as book review editor, and as program chair.  Her publications include “The Will to Religion: Obligatory Religious Citizenship” in Critical Research on Religion 1(2) 2013; Varieties of Religious Establishment (Ashgate, 2013), edited with Winnifred F. Sullivan; Defining Harm: Religious Freedom and the Limits of the Law (UBC Press, 2008); “Is Religious Freedom Impossible in Canada?” in Law, Culture, and the Humanities 6(3) 2010; “Religious Freedom and Neoliberalism: From Harm to Cost-Benefit” in Religion and Neoliberal Policy and Governance (Ashgate, 2012), edited by F. Gauthier and T. Martikainen; and “Battles over Symbols: The ‘Religion’ of the Minority Versus the ‘Culture’ of the Majority” in Journal of Law and Religion 28(1) 2012/3.  She is principal investigator of a 37 member international research team whose focus is religion and diversity (religionanddiversity.ca).

Lori Beaman’s Vision Statement

ASR plays an important role by offering a stimulating and collegial intellectual environment for scholars whose work focuses on the sociology of religion.  I would like to make a contribution to the ongoing and continued strength of the Association.  Although we meet in conjunction with ASA, and our collaboration through several joint sessions gives us a presence at those meetings, it is important to be clear about the unique and distinctive contribution our Association makes. ASR’s approximately 50 sessions allow us to be open to a wide range of perspectives and approaches. The size of our membership means that we offer an especially collegial space for graduate students and junior scholars.  As an international association, we are a ‘destination’ meeting for international scholars. Our journal, Sociology of Religion, is an important venue for the dissemination of high quality scholarly research. As President, I would showcase and build on these strengths.

Council Members Elected to Serve until 2017

Richard Flory (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is associate research professor of sociology and director of research in the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. He is the author/co-author/editor of several books including Spirit and Power: The Growth and Global Impact of Pentecostalism (Oxford University Press, 2013), Growing up in America: The Power of Race in the Lives of Teens (Stanford University Press, 2010), Finding Faith: The Spiritual Quest of the Post-Boomer Generation (Rutgers University Press, 2008) and GenX Religion (Routledge, 2000). He directs the Religion, Culture and Politics Working Group at USC, which includes religion scholars from 20 universities in Southern California.  He is currently writing a book on the Los Angeles Dream Center, a large-scale Pentecostal social outreach ministry that includes the historic Angelus Temple, and in 2014 will begin a new project on religious competition and creative innovation in Los Angeles and Seoul, South Korea.

Giuseppe Giordan (Ph.D., Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome), is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Padua (Italy).  He is Co-Editor of the Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion (Brill), and member of the International Committee of ASR and of the Membership Committee of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.  He served as General Secretary of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion from 2009 to 2013 and as Secretary of the Italian Sociological Association – Section on the Sociology of Religion from 2007 to 2010.  He is author, co-author, editor or co-editor of fifteen books or journal special issues in the sociology of religion, including four volumes in the Religion and Social Order series (ASR).  His sociological research focuses on the interaction between religion and spirituality, youth and religion, and religious and cultural pluralism. His current project is on the Christian Orthodox and Chinese immigrant religions in Italy.

Milagros Peña is Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at the University of Florida.  She received a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and a doctorate in Sociology from SUNY Stony Brook.  Her scholarship spans research on social movements and the sociology of religion in Peru, Mexico, and the U.S.  Peña’s early research appeared in several articles and a book titled Theologies and Liberation in Peru: The Role of Ideas in Social Movements (Temple University Press, 1995).  Her more recent book, Latina Activists across Borders: Grassroots Women’s Organizing in Mexico and Texas (Duke University Press, 2007), received the 2008 Distinguished Book Award from the Latino/a Section of ASA.  In the last several years, she has been involved in collaborative research with Edwin Hernández at the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame that includes the publication of Emerging Voices, Urgent Choices: Latino-a Leadership Development from the Pew to the Plaza (Brill, 2006).  She is past chair of ASA’s Latino/a Section and has served previously on the Executive Councils of ASR, SSSR, and the ASA’s Religion Section.