Sunday Assembly Ethnography
My dissertation centers around an ethnography of a "secular congregation," The Sunday Assembly. Through interviews, observations, and content analysis, I am exploring the ways in which nonreligiosity is "lived" through community formation, ritualization, and embodied experiences. Far from being an identity that signals a lack of beliefs and values, nonreligious individuals in fact hold a heterogeneity of substantive beliefs and identities that are built in relation to religion and formed around cultural practices and non-religious communities. Using the Sunday Assembly as a case study, my dissertation will begin to outline some of these non-religious cultural practices and the ways they are constructed and reinforced in nonreligious networks and communities. I have published a book chapter in an edited volume on organized secularism using my fieldwork data and am currently working on a paper that explores the ways that Sunday Assemblers exemplify a "quest" orientation to nonreligiosity.
American Mosaic Project
As part of my larger interest in the ways that non-religion shapes personal and civic identities, I work as a research fellow at the American Mosaic Project where I use the project's 2014 survey data to explore civic engagement and social boundaries among the religious and nonreligious. Much of my work with AMP is centered around parsing out the heterogeneity of nonreligious identifications, beliefs, and behaviors. Using the AMP data, I have published a paper analyzing gender differences in nonreligious identification with Penny Edgell and Evan Stewart and a paper examining how nonreligious beliefs and identifications influence rates of volunteering with Penny Edgell. Penny and I have also published a paper using AMP data exploring the influence of conservative religiosity on understandings of racial inequality.
The Society Pages
Like many other social scientists, I believe it is important to make my knowledge, my work, and my field accessible to non-academics. Working with The Society Pages, an open-access social science project headquartered in the sociology department at the University of Minnesota, has been my primary way of doing that as a graduate student. I have been on the editorial board since 2013 and worked as a graduate and/or managing editor from 2014-2018. I have written numerous short pieces for the site and I was a graduate editor for the TSP edited volume, Assigned: Life With Gender. Below are a few of my favorite pieces I've done for the site, but see here for the full list.
- The Role of Female Role Models
- The "Facebook Effect" on Religiosity
- When Women Mobilize
- Nasty Women and the Reappropriation of Stigmatized Labels
- Why Witchcraft Appeals to Marginalized Groups
- The Meaning and Measurement of Secularization
- Podcast Interview with Lois Lee on Recognizing the Nonreligious
- The Risks of Raiding Sanctuary Churches
- Nostalgia Is Not What It Used to Be
- Suicide as Culturally Contagious
- #AtheistVoter: Representing the "Nones" in 2016
- Volunteer Work: Getting the Gift to Keep on Giving
- Atheist Church: A Predictable Paradox
- #ShoutYourAbortion Shouts Back at Stigma
- FBiPhone and Coders' Free Speech
- The Ordinary Side of Charismatic Leadership