About the Association

Profiles of Newly Elected

2017 President-Elect, 2018 President, and 2019 Past-President

Dan Olson, Ph.D., University of Chicago 1987, Professor of Sociology at Purdue University, has twice served on the ASR executive council (1997-2000 and 2008-2011), been chair of the ASA Section on Sociology of Religion and both secretary and president of RRA. He is coeditor of two books, the Role of Religion in Modern Societies, 2008, and the Secularization Debate, 2000, and has published articles in the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, and the Review of Religious Research. His research interests focus on how the religious composition of geographic areas affects both religious variables (e.g., religious change/secularization, religious commitment of congregation members, religious switching) and, more recently, non-religious variables such as local and international variations in generalized trust, underage drinking, and, in near future work, change in mental health outcomes of people living in these same areas.

Dan Olson’s Vision Statement
Besides the journal, Sociology of Religion, and the awards and funding that ASR gives, many of the benefits that members receive derive from the quality of the annual meetings. The President has both the responsibility and the opportunity to shape the annual meeting program. While continuing to provide as many opportunities as possible for our colleagues, especially students, to present their work in regular sessions, I plan to work aggressively to expand the number of special sessions (both joint sessions with ASA and our own preplanned sessions) in which prominent scholars both in our subfield and on the edges of our subfield are invited to share their recent work and thinking. By publicizing these sessions in advance to our members and to the relevant ASA sections we can increase our meeting attendance and the value of the discussions, both formal and informal, that takes place at our meetings.

Council Members Elected to Serve until 2019

Ruth Braunstein is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut; a Public Discourse Project Faculty Fellow at UConn’s Humanities Institute; and a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale University. Her research explores the diverse ways in which citizens across the political spectrum participate in public life, and the complex role of religion in this process. Her research has been published in the American Sociological Review, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Qualitative Sociology, and Contexts. She is currently completing on a book based on a comparative ethnographic study of faith-based community organizing and Tea Party activism, entitled Prophets and Patriots: Faith in Democracy Across the Political Divide; and co-editing a book about the role of religion in progressive politics in the U.S. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from New York University, and a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Gladys Ganiel is Research Fellow in the Senator George Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast. Her research interests include religion and conflict, the emerging church, religion in Ireland, evangelicalism in Northern Ireland, and charismatic Christianity in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Her book, co-authored with Gerardo Marti, The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity (OUP 2014) was a winner of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion’s Distinguished Book Award. She is author of Transforming Post-Catholic Ireland (OUP 2016), Evangelical Journeys (co-authored with Claire Mitchell, UCD Press 2011), Evangelicalism and Conflict in Northern Ireland (Palgrave 2008), and more than 30 articles and chapters. She co-edited Vol. 24, Religion in Times of Crisis (2014) in ASR’s ‘Religion and the Social Order’ series. She is Chair of the European Sociological Association’s Sociology of Religion Research Network and a member of ASR’s International Liaison Committee.

Kevin McElmurry is an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University Northwest. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in 2009. His research interests are centered on ritual practices and gender through the lens of embodiment, emotion, and sound. His previous ethnographic research has focused on the intersection of mass mediated cultural forms and gender in contemporary Protestant Evangelical ritual practices. His most recent publication reports a study of professional media production practices in a large “seeker-oriented” congregation. McElmurry’s current work examines the spiritual practices of young working-class men as these are constituted outside the context of formal religious organizations. Kevin has been an active member of ASR organizing sessions and offering papers for over 15 years. Twice he has served as chair of the McNamara Award committee. He served for three years as the editor of the newsletter of the ASA’s Religion Section, as well as both serving on and chairing the Section’s distinguished book award committee.

Executive Officer to Serve from August 22, 2016, until the conclusion of the Annual Meeting in August of 2020.

Rachel Kraus is Professor of Sociology and Affiliated Faculty with Women’s and Gender Studies at Ball State University. Rachel has been an active member of ASR for the past ten years. She is currently on the editorial board of Sociology of Religion. Previously, she served as Chair of the Robert McNamara Student Paper Award Committee (2011-12) and Program Chair (2007). Along with her involvement in ASR, Rachel has served as Vice-President (2014) and Secretary (2015-present) of the North Central Sociological Association and Chair of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion’s Outstanding Book Award Committee (present). Rachel has published several articles on spirituality and artistic leisure in journals including Sociology of Religion, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Implicit Religion. Her other work includes investigations of religion and deviance, religious views of sexuality, religious identity and migration, and the intersection of religion and politics.


Profiles of Winners of Past Elections

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.

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.