Nancy T. Ammerman

Professor Emerita of Sociology of Religion

Nancy T. Ammerman is Professor of Sociology of Religion, Emerita for the Sociology Department of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Theology.

Dr. Ammerman’s most recent work has focused on developing a sociological theory of “lived religion.” Her 2021 book Studying Lived Religion: Contexts and Practices (NYU Press) builds on a growing body of research, including both her 2013 book, Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life, (Oxford University Press), which documents the way religion and spirituality operate across the many domains of daily lived experience, and her edited 2006 book Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives (Oxford University Press).

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 analyzes twenty-three congregations that encountered various forms of neighborhood change in communities around the country. That interest continues in her curating of the website

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.

Curriculum Vitae

Recent Publications

2022: “Social Practices and Cultural Contexts: Frameworks for the Study of Spirituality.” Pp. 33-48 in Situating Spirituality: Context, Practice, and Power, edited by Brian Steensland, Jaime Kucinskas and Anna Sun (Oxford University Press).

2021: “The Many Meanings of Non-affiliation” Pp. 27-55 in Empty Churches: Non-Affiliation in America, edited by James L. Heft, S. M. and Jan E. Stets (Oxford University Press).

2020: “Rethinking Religion: Toward a Practice Approach” American Journal of Sociology 126(1):6-51.

2019: “Studying Parishes” pp. 47-66 in American Parishes: Remaking Local Catholicism, edited by Gary Adler, Tricia C. Bruce, and Brian Starks. Fordham University Press.

2018: “Religions and Social Progress: Critical Assessments and Creative Partnerships.” Grace Davie and Nancy T. Ammerman, Coordinating Lead Authors. In Rethinking Society for the 21st Century: Report of the International Panel for Social Progress. Edited by Marc Fleurbaey and Olivier Bouin. New York:  Cambridge University Press.

2016: “Denominations, Congregations, and Special Purpose Groups” Ch. 8 (pp. 133-154) in Handbook of Religion and Society, edited by David Yamane. Springer.

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

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. “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.

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.