Elaine Howard Ecklund is the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology, and director of the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University. In 2010, she founded the Religion and Public Life Program and served as director for 12 years. As a sociologist of religion, science, and work, she is particularly interested in social change and how institutions change, especially when individuals leverage aspects of their religious, race, and gender identities to change institutions. Over the past several years Elaine’s research has explored how scientists in different nations understand religion, ethics, and gender; religion at work; and the overlap between racial and religious discrimination in workplaces. Most recently Elaine is co-directing a $2.9 million grant in order to create a new field of sociological research examining how identities and beliefs around race and gender are related to attitudes about science and religion. This regranting initiative is funded by the Templeton Religion Trust and coordinated by The Issachar Fund. In addition to distributing funds for others to conduct research, Elaine will lead a project on race, gender, and the science and religion of the human body.
Elaine is the author of seven books, over 100 research articles, and numerous op-eds. She has received grants and awards from multiple organizations including the National Science Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, Templeton World Charity Foundation, and Templeton Religion Trust. Her latest book is Varieties of Atheism in Science with David R. Johnson (OUP, 2021) and she is also author with Anne E. Lincoln of Failing Families, Failing Science: Work-Family Conflict in Academic Science (NYU, 2016).