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. I have published a book chapter in an edited volume on organized secularism using data from my fieldwork and my article in the American Sociological Review draws on data from this project as well.
I work as a research fellow at the American Mosaic Project where I use the project's 2014 survey data to explore civic engagement, volunteerism, conceptions of community, and social boundaries between the religious and nonreligious. 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.
One of my longer term career goals is to create better survey questions and categories to more accurately capture religious and nonreligious beliefs, rituals, and conceptions/practices of community. In working toward this larger goal, I have teamed up with researchers at the University of Minnesota and Augsburg University, as well as local nonreligious organizations in the Twin Cities, to develop and field a 25-question survey. I have received funding from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion to field a pilot version of this survey in Fall 2019.