I am a scholar of cultural authority—effectively, I want to know who gets believed (or not) and why as it relates to social change. While a lot of scholarship is dedicated to why this happens in particular historical moments, in my work I develop a ‘place and space’ perspective in order to examine the where of cultural authority. As a result, I actively maintain distinct yet overlapping areas of research guided by this underlining interest in not only the sources and causes of social change, but also in the places (built environment) and spaces (communities) in which that social change occurs and why those locations appear to matter.
At the core of my research agenda is a desire to understand how sources of cultural authority (whether it is rooted in art, medicine, or religion and science) are acquired and how sites of knowledge production are formed by diverse groups in the twenty-first century. It is the connective tissue of my work and one that reflects my deep commitment to unearthing how authority is negotiated and sometimes used to challenge the status quo rather than uphold it.
Currently I am working on a manuscript, entitled Mobilizing Conflict: The Museum and the Creationist Social Movement, which is based off of fieldwork completed at the Creation Museum in Kentucky built by Answers in Genesis, an organization tied to the broader Young Earth Creationist movement.
Recent and forthcoming publications include:
– 2016. “
Science” Handbook of Religion and Society, edited by David Yamane. Springer.
– 2016. “
Beyond Access: Social Safety Nets and the Use of Free Health Care Services” with Oren Pizmony-Levy, Sociological Perspectives
-2015. “Place and Culture-Making: Geographic Clumping in the Emergence of Artistic Schools” (First Author) with Tom Gieryn. Poetics 50:20-43.
-2015. “Sociology of Science” with Tom Gieryn, in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, edited by James Wright. Oxford: Elsevier, UK.
-2012. “Teaching with Movement: Using the Health Privilege Activity to Physically Demonstrate Disparities in Society” with Amy Irby-Shasnami and Tiffani N. Saunders, Teaching Sociology 40(2):123-141.
-2012. “In Sickness and In Health: Undermining the Dominant Ethos of Individual Responsibility through Celluloid Stories” with Bernice A. Pescosolido, in Cinematic Sociology: Social Life in Film, edited by Jean-Anne Sutherland and Kathryn Feltey. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, SAGE publications.
Other publications and network affiliations:
“Science Museums and Cultural Authority: The Case of the Creation Museum” Cosmologics: A Magazine of Science, Religion, and Culture, Harvard Divinity School
“The Politics of Science.” Mobilizing Ideas. The Center for the Study of Social Movements, University of Notre Dame.
“Findings from the 2010/2011, Social and Health Assessment of Patients.”Volunteers in Medicine of Monroe County (with Oren Pizmony-Levy).
Science and Religion Network with fellow social scientists.