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 non-religiosity is "lived" through community formation, ritualization, and embodied experiences. Far from being an identity that signals a lack of beliefs and values, non-religious 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 non-religious networks and communities. I have published a book chapter in a forthcoming 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 non-religiosity.
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 non-religious. Much of my work with AMP is centered around parsing out the heterogeneity of non-religious identifications, beliefs, and behaviors. Using the AMP data, I have published a paper analyzing gender differences in non-religious identification with Penny Edgell and Evan Stewart and a paper examining how non-religious 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