The director, affiliated faculty, visiting scholars, staff, and graduate students of the Center research a variety of topics regarding the sociology of religion.


Kraig Beyerlein

Dr. Kraig Beyerlein

Associate Professor of Sociology 

Interests:  Religion, Social movements, Civic Engagement, U.S.- Mexico Border 

Affiliated Faculty

Kevin Christiano

Dr. Kevin Christiano

Associate Professor of Sociology

Interests: American and Canadian Religion, Comparative-Historical Sociology, Canadian Politics

Atalia Omer

Dr. Atalia Omer

Associate Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peace Studies

Interests: Religion, Nationalism, Citizenship, Peacebuilding, Justice, Multiculturalism, Ethnoreligious National Conflicts

David Sikkink

Dr. David Sikkink

Associate Professor of Sociology
Principal Investigator for the Cardus Religious Schools Initiative

Interests: Religion, Education, Civic Engagement


Chris Smith, Director

Dr. Christian Smith

William R. Kenan Professor of Sociology
Principal Investigator for the Global Religion Research Initiative

Interests: Religion in Modernity, Adolescents, Evangelicalism, Culture

Jason Springs

Dr. Jason A. Springs

Associate Professor of Religion, Ethics, and Peace Studies

Interests: Religious Pluralism, Secularization in Europe and North America, Multiculturalism, Postliberal Theology, Human Rights and Restorative Justice, Contemporary Pragmatism

Erika Summers-Effler

Dr. Erika Summers-Effler

Associate Professor of Sociology

Interests: Religion, Social Movements, Ethnography, Qualitatitave Methods

Thomas Tweed

Dr. Thomas Tweed

Professor, Harold and Martha Welch Endowed Chair in American Studies

Visiting Faculty and Scholars


Tricia Bruce

Center Affiliate

Research Interests: Religion; Catholicism; Organizations; Social Movements; Race/Immigration; Urban

Katie Comeau

Katie Comeau

Katie Comeau is a postdoctoral scholar in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology with affiliations at the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in sociology from Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. In the summer of 2016, Katie received her M.A. and her thesis was titled “Where Can I Find More Money?: How the Challenges of Fundraising Impacts the Religious Identity of Faith-Based Organizations.” Katie currently works for Notre Dame's Well-being at Work project directed by Dr. Matthew Bloom. In the past, she worked for Dr. Samuel Valenzuela, Dr. Kraig Beyerlein, Dr. Christian Smith and Dr. Patricia Arend. Her dissertation tries to understand how religion influences international development by comparing how group styles and cultural models of help influence the work of NGOs and their faith-affiliated counterparts. During the 2017-2018 academic year, Katie will be on a Fulbright in Jamaica to collect data for her dissertation.Research Interests: Religion, Organizations, Development, Theory


Shanna Corner

Global Religion Research Initiative Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Post-Doctoral Affiliate, Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights

Research Interests:  Global and transnational sociology, cultural sociology, political culture, human rights, law and society, gender, religion, intergovernmental organizations, comparative-historical sociology 


Michael O. Emerson

Center Affiliate

Research Interests: Race and Ethnic Relations, Religion, Urban, and Methods

Donna Freitas

Donna Freitas

Research Affiliate

Interests:  Religion, Spirituality, Young Adults, Hookup Culture, Social Media, The Big Questions, and Meaning-Making

Edwin Hernandez

Edwin Hernández

Research Affiliate

Interests: Latino Religious Experience, Theological Education, Congregational Studies, Evaluation, Education Initiatives


Megan Rogers

Center Affiliate

Interests: Religion, China, culture, social theory, qualitative methods


Jason Klocek

Global Religion Research Initiative Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Research Interests: Religion in Conflict, State Counterinsurgency and Repression, and Civil Wars and Political Violence

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Roberta Ricucci

Center Affiliate

Research Interests: Migration in Europe, Second Generation and School Integation, Muslims in Western Societies, Religious Diversity and Pluralism, Multiculturalism


Nathanael Sumaktoyo

Global Religion Research Initiative Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Research Interests: Religion and Politics, Voting Behavior, Political Psychology, and Social Networks


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Michael Skaggs

Center Affiliate

Research Interests: History of American religion


Michael Wood

Michael Wood 


Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Brigham Young University


peter ryan

Peter Ryan

Associate Director, Center for the Study of Religion and Society


Graduate Students

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Feyza Akova

Research Interests: Social Theory, Religion, and Culture with a focus on Turkey

Feyza Akova is a third year graduate student in the Department of Sociology. She holds an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Houston, and bachelor's degrees in Sociology and Psychology from the University of Istanbul. Before coming to Notre Dame, she worked as a Research Intern at non-profit organizations in the U.S. Her research interests include social theory, religion, and  culture with a focus on Turkey.


Abigail Jorgensen

Research Interests:  Culture, Gender & Family, Political Sociology, Quantitative & Qualitative Methods

Abigail Jorgensen is a third year doctoral student in sociology at the University of Notre Dame and a Notebaert Fellow. Her current work focuses on the motherhood shift, warfare theory, and child mortality. Prior to joining the Department of Sociology, Abigail earned a Bachelor of Arts in both Political Science and Gender Studies at the University of Notre Dame with a minor in Theology.



Brianna McCaslin

Research Interests:  Gender, Religion, Sex, Culture

Brianna received her B.A. in sociology and English from Marian University and her M.A. in sociology from IUPUI. She joined the sociology department at Notre Dame in 2015. Her research interests include gender, religion, sex and culture, with specific interests in the role these institutional messages play in individual identity and intimate relationships. Her master's thesis examines the religious identity negotiation of married Catholic women who use contraception. 



Bridget Ritz

Research Interests: Theory, Religion Culture, Demography

Bridget Ritz is a third year graduate student in the Department of Sociology and a Graduate Fellow with Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture. At the CSRS, she works with Christian Smith on the Global Religion Research Initiative. Her research interests are religion, culture, embodiment, and social theory. Bridget received her M.A. in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago (2015) and her B.A. in Politics from Ave Maria University (2013).




Audrey Seah

Research Interests: Ritual, Conflict Resolution, Catholicism, Disability, Culture, Qualitative Methods

Audrey is a Ph.D. candidate in Liturgical Studies and World Religion, World Church in the Department of Theology. She is affiliated with CSR and the Kellogg Institute. Her dissertation examines the formation and expression of narratives around deafness in the worship of Deaf Catholic ecclesial communities in the U.S. and its theological implications. She is also engaged in research on religious rituals of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. She received her M.A. in Theology (2012) and Th.M. (2014) from Saint John's School of Theology-Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota and a B.A. in Music Composition from Fresno State (2003).

Greg Wurm Edited



Gregory Wurm

Research Interests:  Family, Religion, Theory, and Qualitative Methodologies

Greg is first year graduate student in the Department of Sociology.  He graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in 2016 and an MS in 2018.


CSRS Alumni
Graduate Alumni Placement



Sarah Johnson

Research Interests: Nonreligion, Religion, Ritual, Culture, Qualitative Methods 

Sarah is doing a PhD in Liturgical Studies in the Department of Theology and is also affiliated with the Center for the Study of Religion and Society. The focus of her research is the relationship between nonreligion and Christian ritual in North America. Sarah is a Louisville Institute Doctoral Fellow and holds a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She received an M.A.R. in Liturgical Studies from Yale Divinity School (2010), and an M.T.S. from the University of Waterloo (2008), where she also completed a B.A. in Religious Studies (2007). 

Ethan Fridmanski

Ethan Fridmanski

Research Interests: Sociology of Religion, Sociology of Technology, Quantitative Methods

Ethan is in his fourth year of graduate studies at Notre Dame.  He hails from Danville Illinois, a smaller city in east central Illinois.  During his undergraduate studies at Illinois State University he studied History with minors in Sociology and Philosophy.  While he studied History he focused on intellectual history during the enlightenment, communication technology, and 19th century American religious history.  His research interests at Notre Dame are much the same.  Ethan's areas of interest are the sociology of religion and the sociology of technology with methodological interests in statistics and network analysis.

His Master's Thesis (titled: Online Communities: A case study of the nonreligious in the age of the Internet) looks at variation in online political activity among the nonreligious and religious populations of America.  After this project he hopes to continue studying communication technology and religion.  His dissertation will look at how developments in communication technologies during the 19th and 20th century have affected the American religious population.  This project will focus on three main technological developments: the telegraph/telephone, television, and the Internet.




Michael Rotolo

Research Interests: Religion, Culture, Cognition, Morality, Linguistics, Emotion, Theory

Michael Rotolo is a PhD Candidate and University Presidential Fellow in sociology at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he received an M.Div. at Princeton Theological Seminary (2016) and a B.A. in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2013), where he minored in Social and Economic Justice.

More information (including CV) can be found on his website:

Shanna Corner


Shanna Corner ('18)

Dissertation: "Tactics and Transcendence: The Struggle to Create Common Understandings about Religion and Women’s Rights within the United Nations"

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Global Religion Research Initiative, Notre Dame


peter ryan

Peter Ryan

Research Interests: Religion, Social Movements, Theory, Culture

Peter graduated from the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies at the University of Redlands in 2002 with an emphasis in Literature and Creative Writing. He has spent the interim decade working in the nonprofit world, helping to set up volunteer programs in Syria and the Palestinian Territories. His areas of interest include social movements, religion, and qualitative methods.

Linda Kawentel


Linda Kawentel ('17)

Dissertation: "The Intersection of Religion, Gender, and Family among U.S. Catholics: A Quantitative Analysis of the Relation of Religious Orthodoxy to Attitudes and Practices Concerning the Family"

Senior Reserach Scientist, Wellbeing at Work Program, Mendoza College of Business, Notre Dame




Megan Rogers ('17)

Dissertation:  "Faiths and Fortune: Religion among the Professional Middle Cleass in Urban China"

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Global Religion Research Initiative, Notre Dame


Pete Barwis

Pete Barwis ('16)

Dissertation: "Power and Mobilization: The Problem of All-Volunteer Force Enlistment"

Senior Data Scientist, (2016 - Present)
Capture Higher Ed.


Cole Carnesecca

Cole Carnesecca ('16)

Dissertation: "Fate of the Gods:  State Formation and the Emergence of Religious Modernity in China and Japan."

Assistant Professor (2016 - Present)
Zhejiang University, China


Bryant Crubaugh

Bryant Crubaugh ('16)

Dissertation: "Not all Civic Action is Equal: How Place-Based and Identity-Based Civic Associations Differentially Impact Neighborhoods and Cities"

Assistant Professor of Sociology, (2016 - Present)
Pepperdine University

Bryant's CV


Amy Jonason

Amy Jonason ('16)

Dissertation: "Growing the Good Food Revolution: Strategies of Sustainable Community in Two Altruistic Civic Projects"

Assistant Professor, (2016 - Present)
Furman University

Amy's CV

Peter Mundey

Peter Mundey ('15)

Dissertation: “American Christianity & Consumerism: Understanding the Relationship Between Christian Economic Culture and Secular Consumer Culture.”

Research Associate (2017 - Present)
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Peter's CV


Bradley Vermurlen

Bradley Vermurlen ('16)

Dissertation: "Reformed Resurgence: A Field-Theoretic Analysis of Religious Strength (and Weakness) in Advanced Modernity"

Director of Social Research (2016 - Present)
Docent Research Group

Bradley's CV

Meredith Whitnah

Meredith Whitnah ('14)

Dissertation: "Faith and the Fragility of Justice."

Assistant Professor of Sociology (2015 - Present) 
Westmont College

Meredith's CV


Justin Farrell

Justin Farrell ('14)

Dissertation: "The Moral Meaning of Environmental Conflicts over Yellowstone."
Dissertation Co-Chairs: Omar Lizardo and Christian Smith

Assistant Professor (2014 - Present)
Yale University 


Brandon R

Brandon R. Vaidyanathan ('14)

Dissertation: "Living in a Secular Age: Work, Lifestyle, and Religion in Bangalore and Dubai."

Associate Professor of Sociology
The Catholic University of America

Brandon's CV

Chris Morrissey

Chris Morrissey ('12)

Dissertation: "War, Peace, and Religious Advocacy: the Debate Over the Iraq War."

Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology (2014 - Present)
George Fox University

Chris' CV

Karen Monique Gregg

Karen Monique Gregg ('12)

Dissertation: "The Safe and Sacred Pajama Party:  Social Processes in a Religious Youth Ministry for High School Adolescents."

University of North Texas

Recent Publication:
"Generating Trust in Congregations: Engagement, Exchange, and Social Networks." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 53, no. 1 (2014)

Patricia Snell Herzog

Patricia Snell Herzog ('11)

Dissertation: "People in Context: Perceptions of Social Dissonance and Community Involvement."

Associate Professor (2018 - Present)

Patricia's CV


Bob Brenneman

Bob Brenneman ('09)

Dissertation: “From Homie to Hermano: Conversion and Gang Exit in Central America."

Assistant Professor of Sociology (2010 - Present)
St. Michael’s College

Bob's CV


Jon Hill

Jon Hill ('09)

Dissertation: "Religious Pathways During the Transition to Adulthood: A Life Course Approach."

Assistant Professor (2009 - Present)
Calvin College

Jon's CV