Elaine Howard Ecklund

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Elaine Howard Ecklund is the Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology, as well as founding director of the Religion and Public Life Program. Theoretically, Ecklund explores how individuals and small groups bring changes to larger institutions that constrain them. Substantively, her work explores this topic in relationship to religion, science, gender, race and immigration in different national contexts. Ecklund is the author of seven books, dozens of peer-reviewed research articles, and numerous op-eds. She has received over 10 million dollars in grants and awards, including those from the Templeton Religion Trust, Lilly Endowment, Inc., Templeton World Charity Foundation, National Science Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, and Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Her research has been covered in national and international news media, including USA Today, Nature, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist. She received a PhD in 2004 from Cornell University, where she was the recipient of the Class of 2004 Graduate Student Baccalaureate Award for Academic Excellence and Community Service. In 2013 Ecklund was winner of the Charles O. Duncan Award for outstanding research and teaching achievement at Rice University, and in 2018 she gave the Gifford Lecture at the University of Edinburgh. Ecklund has previously served as chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on the Sociology of Religion and as president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Over the past several years, Ecklund’s research has explored how scientists in different nations understand religion, ethics, and gender. Ecklund is currently leading (with Denise Daniels) a nation-wide research initiative entitled “Faith at Work: An Empirical Study.” Ecklund teaches classes at the graduate and undergraduate level on immigration, sociology of science, classical sociological theory, research methods, and religion in public life.


Ecklund, Elaine Howard, and David R. Johnson. Forthcoming. Varieties of Atheism in Science. Oxford University Press.

Ecklund, Elaine Howard. 2020. Why Science and Faith Need Each Other: Eight Shared Values That Move Us beyond Fear. Brazos Press.

Ecklund, Elaine Howard, David R. Johnson, Brandon Vaidyanathan, Kirstin R. W. Matthews, Steven W. Lewis, Robert A. Thomson Jr., and Di Di. 2019. Secularity and Science: What Scientists Around the World Really Think About Religion. Oxford University Press.


Bolger, Daniel, Robert A. Thomson Jr., and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2021. “Determinants of Confidence in U.S. Institutions: Comparing Congress and Corporations.” Social Science Quarterly 102(1):324-342.

Scheitle, Christopher P., and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2020. “Individuals’ Experiences with Religious Hostility, Discrimination, and Violence: Findings from a New National Survey.” Socius 6:1-15.

Ecklund, Elaine Howard, Denise Daniels, and Rachel C. Schneider. 2020. “From Secular to Sacred: Bringing Work to Church.” Religions 11(9):442.

Khalsa, Simranjit, Brenton D. Kalinowski, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2020. “Indian Scientists’ Definitions of Religion and Spirituality.” Religions 11(7):355.

Bolger, Dan, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2020. “Seeing is Achieving: Religion, Embodiment, and Explanations of Racial Inequality in STEM.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, published online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2020.1791354.

Mehta, Sharan, Bob Thomson, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2020. “Polarized Scientists? Exploring Political Differences around Religion and Science among US Biologists and Physicists.” Sociological Forum, published online: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/socf.12661.

Peifer, Jared, David R. Johnson, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2020. “Is the Market Perceived to be Civilizing or Destructive? Scientists’ Moral Values and their Attitudes towards Patents.” Journal of Business Ethics, published online: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-020-04633-y.

Thomson, Robert A. Jr., Esmeralda Sanchez Salazar, and Elaine Howard Ecklund. 2020. “The Very Ivory Tower: Pathways Reproducing Racial-Ethnic Stratification in US Academic Science.” Ethnic and Racial Studies, published online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2020.1786144.

Ecklund, Elaine Howard. 2020. “Diversifying the Social Scientific Study of Religion: The Next Seventy Years.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 59(1):5-17.

Ecklund, Elaine Howard, Denise Daniels, Dan Bolger, and Laura Johnson. 2020. “A Nationally Representative Survey of Faith and Work: Demographic Subgroup Differences around calling and Conflict.” Religions 11(6):287.

Research Areas

Religion, science, immigration, and culture


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