Connor Rothschild is a junior at Rice studying sociology, political science, and social policy analysis. At RPLP, he is involved with the "Faith at Work" project and “Turning the Tables on Gender and Religion.” Prior to his involvement with RPLP, Connor worked for the Baker Institute for Public Policy and the Texas Policy Lab. Upon graduation, he hopes to attend graduate school to further research religion in the public sphere.
Cleve V. Tinsley IV earned his Ph.D. in Rice University's department of religion in August 2019. His dissertation, "Making Black Lives Matter: Race and Religion in Struggles for African-American Identity," explores the relationship between religion and ongoing black freedom struggles in the US. In it, he argues that understanding the sociological significance and meaning of African-American religious struggle requires more extensive research strategies given the complex nature of religious meaning-making in the lives of African Americans today. Cleve currently works as a visiting research fellow with the RPLP while also working on his first manuscript based on his thesis.
Non-resident Research Fellows
Di Di is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Santa Clara University. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from Rice University. Prior to joining the faculty at Santa Clara University, Di Di was an RPLP graduate student fellow from 2012 to 2019. Her research examines the intersection between religion and other social institutions, including gender, ethnicity, science, and technology. Her current book project relies on a 15-month ethnographic research project and 80 in-depth interviews with ethnic Chinese Buddhists from two temples, one in mainland China and the other in the U.S. Her work has appeared in Sociology of Religion, Public Understanding of Science, and Journal of Contemporary China.
David R. Johnson
is an assistant professor of higher education leadership at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he specializes in the sociology of higher education, work and organizations, religion, and science. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno, he was an RPLP postdoctoral fellow from 2012 to 2015. He completed his doctoral training in sociology at the University of Georgia. David is the author of A Fractured Profession: Commercialism and Conflict in Academic Science
(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017). His scholarship can also be found in top social science journals such as The Journal of Higher Education
, Social Forces
, Sociological Science
, Public Understanding of Science
, and Science, Technology, and Human Values
Jared Peifer is an assistant professor of management at Baruch College. He was an RPLP postdoctoral fellow from 2011 to 2013. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from Cornell University in 2011. Jared’s research primarily focuses on the moral motivations of people as they engage in various economic activity. Most of his work in this vein explores the moral motivations of investors by focusing on socially responsible investing. He has also published work on charitable giving and environmental consumption, and is currently working on articles that deal with voluntary simplicity, materialism, and the commercialization of scientific research.
Pamela Prickett is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam. From 2015 to 2017 she was an RPLP postdoctoral fellow. As a sociologist Pamela uses ethnographic and historical methods to understand how poverty and inequality are experienced, structured, and reproduced within urban communities. Her current book project, Believing in South Central, draws on more than five years of fieldwork in an African-American Muslim community in a low-income neighborhood in Los Angeles. The book examines the everyday lives of the pious urban poor, including the ways they draw on each other and local religious organizations for social support in light of a changing urban landscape. Her work has appeared in Gender & Society and City & Community.
Chris Scheitle is an assistant professor of sociology at West Virginia University. Broadly, his research examines the social structure and dynamics of religion in the United States, with a focus on three specific areas. The first explores the relationship between religion and science. A second examines innovations in how religion is organized in the United States, especially in regards to the growth of so-called parachurch organizations. The last area of research looks at crimes against religious congregations. He has published two books, over two dozen scholarly articles, and has been awarded two research grants from the National Science Foundation. His research has been featured in a number of media outlets, including USA Today, CNN.com, and ABC News.
Bob Thomson is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). He completed his Ph.D. in Sociology at Baylor University in 2017, focusing on the intersection of crime, religion, and social inequality. He then worked as a postdoctoral research fellow for the Religion and Public Life Program before joining the Department of Sociology at UAH in 2019. Bob's current research includes a grant-funded project titled, “Black or Blue? A Pilot Study of Religious and Political Sources of Moral Attitudes Towards Police and Protest.”
Brandon Vaidyanathan is an associate professor of sociology at The Catholic University of America. Born and raised in the Arabian Gulf, he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in management from Canada and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame. His research examines cultural dimensions of religious, commercial, medical, and scientific institutions, and has been published in journals such as Social Problems, Social Forces, Sociology of Religion, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, and Journal of the American Academy of Religion.