Nancy T. Ammerman

Professor of Sociology of Religion
96 Cummington St
(617) 358-0634
PhD Yale University

Nancy T. Ammerman is Professor of Sociology of Religion in the Sociology Department of the College of Arts and Sciences and in the School of Theology, and she serves as Associate Dean of the Faculty for the Social Sciences in the College.

Dr. Ammerman’s most recent research has focused on the social structures and practices of everyday lived religion. Her most recent book, Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life, (Oxford University Press, 2013) documents the way religion and spirituality operate across the many domains of daily lived experience, the way “the sacred” is encountered both within and beyond the boundaries of official religious institutions and practices. This follows Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives (Oxford University Press, 2006), an edited collection of essays exploring “lived religion” in Europe and the U.S.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Ammerman spent many years studying congregations. Her 2005 book, Pillars of Faith: American Congregations and their Partners (University of California Press) describes how America’s diverse congregations do their work. It was awarded the Distinguished Book award by the Religion Section of the American Sociological Association. It followed her 1997 book, Congregation and Community, which tells the stories of twenty-three congregations that encountered various forms of neighborhood change in communities around the country.

Her first book, in 1987, was Bible Believers: Fundamentalists in the Modern World, a study of an independent Baptist church in New England, exploring the way in which its members make sense of their lives. Attention to resurgent conservatism continued with Baptist Battles: Social Change and Religious Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention, which received the 1992 Distinguished Book award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. There she provided an historical and sociological account of the divisions that faced America’s largest denomina­tion. She also contributed sections on Christian movements for the volumes of “The Funda­men­talism Pro­ject” of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Nancy was the 2004-05 President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, the 2000-01 Chair of the Religion Section of the American Sociological Association, and the 1995-96 President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. She is a frequently quoted news source on a variety of topics.


Ammerman, Nancy Tatom.  Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Ammerman, Nancy Tatom. 2007. Everyday religion: observing modern religious lives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ammerman, Nancy Tatom. 2005. Pillars of faith american congregations and their partners. Berkeley: Univ Of California Press.

WINNER, 2005 Distinguished Book Award, Sociology of Religion section, American Sociological Association.

Dudley, Carl S., and Nancy T. Ammerman. Congregations in Transition. (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2002).

Ammerman, Nancy T., Jackson Carroll, Carl S. Dudley, and William McKinney (eds.). Studying Congregations: A New Handbook. (Nashville: Abingdon, 1998).

Ammerman, Nancy Tatom. Congregation and Community. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1997).

Ammerman, Nancy T. and Wade Clark Roof (eds.). Work, Family, and Religion in Contemporary Society. (New York: Routledge, 1995).

Ammerman, Nancy T. (ed.) Accounting for Christian Fundamentalisms. in Accounting for Fundamentalisms, Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby (eds.). (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994).

Ammerman, Nancy T. (ed.). Southern Baptists Observed: Multiple Perspectives on a Changing Denomination. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993).

Ammerman, Nancy Tatom. Baptist Battles: Social Change and Religious Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1990).

WINNER, 1992 Distinguished Book Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Portions reprinted in Sociology: The Central Questions, 2nd ed., by William Kornblum (Harcourt, 2001).

Ammerman, Nancy Tatom. Bible Believers: Fundamentalists in the Modern World. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1987).

Portions reprinted in Religion North American Style, ed. by Thomas E. Dowdy (Rutgers University Press, 1996); and The Practical Skeptic: Readings in Sociology, by Lisa J. McIntyre (Mayfield, 2001).


2013 Smith, Christian, Brandon Vaidyanathan, Nancy T Ammerman, Jose Casanova, Hilary Davidson, Elaine Howard Ecklund, John H. Evans, Philip S. Gorski, Mary Ellen Koneiczny, Jason A. Springs, Jenny Trinitapoli, and Meredith Whitnah. “Roundtable on the Sociology of Religion: Twenty-Three Theses on the Status of Religion in Sociology–A Mellon Working Group Reflection.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 81(3):1-36.

2013 “Spiritual but not Religious?:  Beyond Binary Choices in the Study of Religion.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 52 (2):258-278.

2012 “Foreword” in Ecologies of Faith: The Evolution of Religious Institutions in New York City, edited by Richard Cimino, Nadia A. Mian, and Weishan Huang. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

2012 “A Life in Religious Communities.” Pp. 14-25 in Studying Religion and Society: Sociological Self-Portraits, edited by Titus Hjelm and Phil Zuckerman. London: Routledge.

2012 (with Roman R. Williams) “Speaking of Methods:  Eliciting Religious Narratives through Interviews, Photos, and Oral Diaries.” Pp. 117-134 in Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion: New Methods in Sociology of Religion, edited by Luigi Berzano and Ole Riis. Leiden: Brill.

2010 “The Challenges of Pluralism:  Locating Religion in a World of Diversity.”  Social Compass 57(2): 154-167.

2009. “American Evangelicals in the Landscape of American Religion” in Steven Brint and Jean Reith Schroedel, eds., The Christian Conservative Movement and American Democracy. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

2009. “Congregations and Civic Life” in Paul Lichterman, ed., The Civic Life of American Religion. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

2009. “Congregations: Local, Social, and Religious.” In Peter B. Clarke, ed., Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Religion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2007 “The Social Sources of Dissent: Voice of the Faithful in a Changing Catholic Church” pp. 91-104 in William D’Antionio and Anthony Pogorelc, eds., Voices of the Faithful: Loyal Catholics Striving for Change. NewYork: Crossroad Publishing.

2006 “Religious Identities in Contemporary American Life: Lessons from the NJPS” Sociology of Religion 67(4):359-364.

2006 “Introduction: Observing Modern Religious Lives” and “Studying Everyday Religion: Challenges for the Future” in Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives, edited by Nancy T Ammerman. New York: Oxford University Press.

2006 “Deep and Wide: The Real Evangelicals.” The American Interest 2(1):25-34.

2006 with Wendy Cadge, Milagros Pena, Robert D. Woodberry, and Omar M. McRoberts. “2005 SSSR Presidential Address: On Being a Community of Scholars–Practicing the Study of Religion.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 45:137-148.

2005 “Denominationalism/Congregationalism” pp. 353-372 in Helen Rose Ebaugh, ed. Handbook on Religion and Social Institutions ( New York: Plenum Press).

2005 “Religious Narratives, Community Service, and Everyday Public Life” Pp. 146-174 in Taking Faith Seriously, Mary Jo Bane, Brent Coffin and Richard Higgins, eds. ( Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press).

2003 “Religious Identities and Religious Institutions” Pp. 207-224 in Handbook of Sociology of Religion. Michele Dillon, ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

2002 “Connecting Mainline Protestant Congregations with Public Life.” Pp. 129-158 in The Quiet Hand of God: Faith Based Activism and the Public Role of Mainline Protestantism. Robert Wuthnow and John H. Evans, eds. (Berkeley: University of California Press).

2002 “Re-Awakening a Sleeping Giant: Fundamentalists in Late Twentieth Century U.S. Society.” Pp. 89-110 in The Freedom to Do God’s Will: Religious Fundamentalism and Social Change. Gerrie ter Haar and James Busuttil, eds. (London: Routledge).

2002 “Grieving Together: September 11 as a Measure of Social Capital in the U. S.” Pp. 53-73 in September 11: Religious Perspectives on the Causes and Consequences. Ian Markham and Ibrahim M. Abu-Rabi’, eds. (London: Oneworld Publications). Also published as “Latent Social Capital in a Time of Crisis: U.S. Congregations in the Wake of September 11” (keynote address to the Nordic Conference in Sociology of Religion, August 22, 2002) Tidsskrift for Kirke Religion Samfunn (15(2):97-112.

2002 “Sociology and the Study of Religion.” Pp. 76-88 in Religion, Scholarship, and Higher Education: Perspectives, Models, and Future Prospects. Andrea Sterk, ed. (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press).

2001 “Still Gathering After All These Years: Congregations in U. S. Cities.” pp. 6-20 in Can Charitable Choice Work? Covering Religion’s Impact on Urban Affairs and Social Services. Andrew Walsh, ed. (Hartford: Leonard Greenberg Center, Trinity College).

2001 “Studying Denominations: Challenges for a New Century.” Journal of Presbyterian History 79(3): 183-197.

2000 “Conservative Jews Within the Landscape of American Religion” Pp. 359-390 in Jews in the Center: Conservative Synagogues and Their Members. Jack Wertheimer, ed. (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press).

1998 “Forum: Interpreting Waco.” Religion and American Culture 8(1)(Winter):25-30.

1997 “Golden Rule Christianity: Lived Religion in the American Mainstream.” Pp. 196-216 in Lived Religion in America, David Hall, ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press).

1997 “Organized Religion in a Voluntaristic Society” (the 1996 Presidential Address, Association for the Sociology of Religion), Sociology of Religion 58(3):203-215.

1997 “Religious Choice and Religious Vitality: The Market and Beyond.” Pp. 119-132 in Assessing Rational Choice Models of Religion, Laurence A. Young, ed. (New York: Routledge).

1995 “Waco, Federal Law Enforcement and Scholars of Religion.” Pp. 282-296 in Armageddon at Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict, Stuart A. Wright, ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

1994 “Telling Congregational Stories” (the 1993 H. Paul Douglass Lecture, Religious Research Association), Review of Religious Research 35 (4):289-301.

1994 “Denominations: Who and What are we Studying? Pp. 111-133 in Re-Imagining Denominationalism, R. B. Mullin and R. E. Richey, eds. (New York: Oxford University Press).

1994 “Accounting for Christian Fundamentalism: Social Dynamics and Rhetorical Strategies” pp. 149-170 in Accounting for Fundamentalisms, Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

1993 “Observing Southern Baptists: An Introduction” and “After the Battles: Emerging Organizational Forms” in Southern Baptists Observed, N. T. Ammerman, ed. (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press).

1991 “North American Protestant Fundamentalism.” Pp. 1-65 in Fundamentalisms Observed, Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

Reprinted in Media, Culture and the Religious Right, edited by Linda Kintz and Julia Lesage (University of Minnesota Press, 1998).

1991 “Southern Baptists and the New Christian Right.” Review of Religious Research 32(3):213-236.

1989 “Organizational Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention.” Pp. 133-151 in Secularization and Fundamentalism Reconsidered, J. Hadden and A. Shupe, eds. (New York: Paragon).

1988 “Fundamentalists Proselytizing Jews: Incivility in Preparation for the Rapture.” Pp. 109-22 in Pushing the Faith, Frederick Greenspahn and Martin E. Marty, eds. (New York: Crossroad).

1984 “Fundamentalism: Bastion of Traditionalism in the Modern World.” Pp. 205-228 in Religion and the Sociology of Knowledge, Barbara W. Hargrove, ed. (New York: Edwin Mellen).

1982 “Dilemmas in Establishing a Research Identity.” New England Sociologist 4:21-27.

1982 “Operationalizing Evangelicalism: An Amendment.” Sociological Analysis 43:170-71.

1980 “The Civil Rights Movement and the Clergy in a Southern Community.” Sociological Analysis 41:339-50.

Articles in Reference Works
2002. “Women in Churches” in Dictionary of American History, 3 rd ed. Stanley I. Kutler, ed. ( New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons).

2002 “Cooperative Baptist Fellowship” Pp. 363-364 in Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. 4 vols. Melton, J. Gordon and Marin Baumann, eds. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2002).

1999 “Congregation,” vol. 1, pp. 148-150, and “Secularization,” vol. 2, pp. 656-657 in Contemporary American Religion. Wade Clark Roof, editor-in-chief (New York: Macmillan).

1987 “Schism.” Pp. 99-102 in vol. 13 of The Encyclopedia of Religion, Mircea Eliade, editor-in-chief. (New York: Macmillan).

Research Reports
Ammerman, Nancy T. Doing Good in American Communities: Congregations and Service Organizations Working Together (Hartford Institute for Religion Research, 2001).

Ammerman, Nancy T., and Adair Lummis. Spiritually Vital Episcopal Congregations: A Summary Report (Center for Social and Religious Research, Hartford Seminary, 1996).

Ammerman, Nancy T., and Jackie W. Ammerman. A Directory of Data on the Changing Relationship Among Work, Family, and Religion. (Center for Religious Research, Emory University, 1990).

Book Reviews

Forthcoming. Of The Megachurch and the Mainline: Remaking Religious Tradition in the Twenty-First Century. By Stephen Ellingson. In Journal of the American Academy of Religion.

2007 of People of the Dream: Multiracial Congregations in the United States. By Michael O. Emerson with Rodney M. Woo. in Social Forces 86(1)(Sept):378-380.

2007 of Sliding to the Right: The Contest for the Future of American Jewish Orthodoxy. By Samuel C. Heilman. In American Journal of Sociology 113(3): 914-916.

2005 of Every Time I Feel the Spirit: Religious Experience and Ritual in an African American Church, by Timothy J. Nelson. In Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 44(2):231-2.

2005 of Congregational Studies in the UK, edited by Mathew Guest, Karen Tusting, and Linda Woodhead. In Journal of British Studies 44:919-920.

2004 of Religion in Europe at the End of the Second Millennium: A Sociological

2003 of One True God, by Rodney Stark. In Sociology of Religion 63(4):548-550.

2003 of Obligations of Citizenship and Demands of Faith: Religious Accommodation in Pluralist Democracies. Edited by Nancy L. Rosenblum. in Church History.

2001 of Latin American Religion in Motion, edited by Christian Smith and Joshua Prokopy, in Sociology of Religion 62(1): 145-146.

2000 of Fundamentalism in America by Philip Melling, in Journal of Contemporary Religion.

1999 of Why Waco? by James Tabor and Eugene Gallagher, and The Ashes coming of Waco, by Dick Reavis, in The Review of Politics 61(4):755-758.

1999 of Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism, by Joel A. Carpenter, in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 38:184-185.

1999 of American Evangelicalism: Embattled and Thriving, by Christian Smith, in Social Forces 77(4):1660-1661.

1998 of Re-Inventing American Protestantism: Christianity in the New Millenium, by Donald Miller, in Contemporary Sociology 27(3)(May):272-273.

1998 of The New Crusades, The New Holy Land: Conflicts in the Southern Baptist Convention, 1969-1991. by David T. Morgan in The Alabama Review.

1997 of Middletown Jews: The Tenuous Survival of an American Jewish Community, ed. by Dan Rottenberg in Contemporary Jewry 18:196-198.

1997 of Material Christianity by Colleen McDannell in Sociology of Religion 58(3):289-290.

1997 of Second Coming: The New Christian Right in Virginia Politics by Mark J. Rozell and Clyde Wilcox in American Journal of Sociology 103(2):466-468.

1996 of American Congregations edited by James P. Wind and James M. Lewis, in First Things.

1995 of Blessed Assurance: Beliefs, Actions, and the Experience of Salvation in a Carolina Baptist Church by M. Jean Heriot, in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (34:403-404).

1995 of Vanishing Boundaries: The Religion of Mainline Protestant Baby Boomers by Dean Hoge, Benton Johnson, and Donald Luidens, in Sociology of Religion (56:84-85).

1994 of The Struggle for the Soul of the SBC, by Walter B. Shurden, and What Happened to the Southern Baptist Convention, by Grady C. Cothen, in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

1993 of A Bridging of Faiths: Religion and Politics in a New England City. by N. J. Demerath III and Rhys Williams, in Society 31(1):91-93.

1993 of God’s Warriors: The Christian Right in Twentieth-Century America. by Clyde Wilcox, in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

1992 of The New Religious Right: Piety, Patriotism, and Politics. by Walter H. Capps, in Journal of the American Academy of Religion.

1990 of The Southern Baptists: Subculture in Transition, by E. Rosenberg, in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

1989 of Charisma and Community, by M. J. Neitz, in Review of Religious Research.

1989 of New Wine in Old Wineskins, by R. S. Warner, in American Journal of Sociology.

1988 of Praying for Justice, by C. Greenhouse, in The Journal of Religion.

1987 of Evangelicals: The Coming Generation, by J. D. Hunter, in Contemporary Sociology.

1987 of God’s Choice, by A. Peshkin, in Journal of the American Academy of Religion.

1986 of Religion in American Public Life, by A. J. Reichley, in Theology Today.

1985 of New Christian Politics, D. Bromley and A. Shupe (eds.) in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

1984 of A New Engagement: Evangelical Political Thought, 1966-1976, by R. B. Fowler, in Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

1983 of Black Pentecostalism: Southern Religion in an Urban World, by A. E. Paris, in Sociological Analysis.

Articles and Reports for Religious Audiences
2007 “Memory Verses: Teaching Children the Bible.” Christian Century 124(7) (April 3): 10-11.

2006 “Journeys of Faith: Meeting the Challenges in Twenty-First-Century America” Pp. 37-51 in Passing on the Faith: Transforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, James L. Heft, ed. (New York: Fordham University Press).

2006 “On Observing Pilgrims” in Wrestling with the Text: Young Adult Perspectives on Scripture, Keith Graber Miller and Malinda E. Berry, eds. (Cascadia Press and Herald Press).

2005 “Local Color: American religion, region by region” Christian Century 122(22) (November 1): 20-25.

2005 “Running on Empty: The Problem of the Mainline” Christian Century 122(13)(June 28):8-10.

2002 “The Baptist Moment: Twenty-First Century Opportunities” Pp. 327-341 in The Gospel in the World: International Baptist Studies. David Bebbington, ed. (Carlisle: Paternoster Press).

2002 “This is Not Business as Usual” Circuit Rider 26(4): 13-15.

2000 “Christian Scholarship in Sociology: Twentieth Century Trends and Twenty-First Century Opportunities” Christian Scholars Review 24:685-694.

2000 “New life for Denominationalism” Christian Century 117(9)(March 15): 302-307.

1999 “Faith Communities and the Future” Sh’ma 30 (564)(September):6-7.

1997 “Work, Family, and the Churches: Where Are We and Where Can We Go?” Word & World 17(4:Fall):358-364.

1997 “Spiritual Journeys in the American Mainstream.” Congregations: The Alban Journal 23(1)(January-February, 1997).

1997 “Congregation and Association: Rethinking Baptist Distinctives for a New Century.” pp. 260-271 in Baptists in the Balance: The Tension between Freedom and Responsibility. ed. by Everett C. Goodwin (Valley Forge, PA: Judson Press).

1995 “Whose Story Is It?” Congregations: The Alban Journal 21(3)(May-June, 1995):3-6.

1993 “SBC Moderates and the Making of a Post-Modern Denomination.” Christian Century 110 (26):896-899.

1993 “Congregating: Evangelical High Church.” Christian Century 110 (35):1230-1231.

1991 “Priests and Prophets” pp. 55-62 in Walter B. Shurden (ed.) Proclaiming the Baptist Vision: The Priesthood of All Believers (Macon: Smyth and Helwys).

1991 “The SBC: Retrospect and Prospect.” Review and Expositor 88(1):9-23.

1990 “Women, Men, and Families: The Myths that Shape Us.” Folio (June)

1987 “The Future for SBC Moderates?” SBC Today (June)

1986 “The New South and the New Baptists.” Christian Century 103(17):486-488

1985 “Women in the Church in the 1980s.” Ministry and Mission (January)


Contributor to “The Way We Live: Introduction to Sociology,” video lessons correlated to Sociology and Society: The Basics (Pearson-Prentice Hall, 2005).