Click on the names to jump to the bios of the staff.
Project Director: R. Stephen Warner,
Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago
Project Co-Director: Rhys H. Williams,
Professor of Sociology, University of Cincinnati
Project Coordinator: Rhonda Dugan
Business Manager: Natalie Henry
Graduate Research Assistants: Janet Armitage, Sayida Baste, Mary Jean Cravens, Korie Edwards, Heather Feldhaus, Jennifer Janis, Elise Martel, Jon Stamm
Interns: Rooman Ahad, Shannon Andrysiak, Melaniece Bardley, Mary Calderon, Oscar Edmond, Kurt Griesch, Eman Hassaballa, Daniel Kovacs, Angee Meen, James Morris, Farid Muhammad, Kimberly Richards, Joaquin Rodgers, Tamara Rose, Gira Vashi
Project Director: R. Stephen Warner
R. Stephen Warner is Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he has been the recipient of three awards for excellence in teaching. He previously taught at Yale University and Sonoma State College and is currently a Fellow of the Theology, Ethics, and Human Sciences Center of Chicago Theological Seminary.
Having earned his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley in 1972, Warner was elected president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion in 1995 and the Religion Section of the American Sociological Association in 2002. He has held Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships, and his research has been supported by the Lilly Endowment and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Among Warners many publications are New Wine in Old Wineskins: Evangelicals and Liberals in a Small-Town Church, University of California Press 1988 (which won the 1989 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion); "Starting Over: Reflections on American Religion," The Christian Century (September 4-11, 1991); "Work in Progress Toward a New Paradigm for the Sociological Study of Religion in the United States," in the American Journal of Sociology, March 1993 (winner of the 1994 SSSR Distinguished Article Award); The Place of the Congregation in the American Religious Configuration, in J. P. Wind and J. W. Lewis, eds., American Congregations, vol. 2 (University of Chicago Press, 1994); Gatherings in Diaspora: Religious Communities and the New Immigration (with Judith Wittner; Temple University Press, 1998); "Elizondo's Pastoral Theology in Action: An Inductive Appreciation" in Timothy Matovina, ed., Beyond Borders: Writings of Virgilio Elizondo and Friends (Orbis, 2000); and Korean Americans and their Religions: Pilgrims and Missionaries From a Different Shore (with Ho-Youn Kwon and Kwang Chung Kim; Penn State University Press, 2001).
Warner is co-founder of the Chicago-Area Group for the Study of Religious Communities and a member of the Congregational Studies Project Team. He has been a consultant for research projects with the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals; Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Hartford Seminary, and McCormick Theological Seminary; Loyola University; the Social Science Research Council and the World Council of Churches. In recent years, he has spoken to audiences at Chicago and Princeton Theological Seminaries; Boston, Brigham Young, Catholic, Drew, Emory, Harvard, Loyola, New School, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Purdue, Temple, and Yale Universities; the Universities of Chicago, Houston and Illinois; Swarthmore and Wheaton Colleges; the Lutheran Educational Conference of North America, the North American Academy of Liturgy, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, the Chicago Historical Society, the Getty Research Institute, and the Groves Conference on Marriage and Family.
He is a resident of Evanston, Illinois, where he and his wife, the choral conductor Anne Heider, are members of Immanuel Lutheran Church (ELCA). They have two grown children and three grandchildren.
R. Stephen Warner
Professor of Sociology
Director, Youth and Religion Project
University of Illinois at Chicago m/c 312
1007 W. Harrison St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Project Co-Director: Rhys Williams
Rhys H. Williams is Associate Professor and Department Head at the University of Cincinnati. Before moving to Cincinnati in 1991, he taught for 11 years at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Williams received his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1988, and also spent two years on a research fellowship at Yale University, working in Yales Program on Non-Profit Organizations and teaching Sociology of Religion at Yales Divinity School.
Williams research interests are mainly in the sociology of religion and the sociology of American culture. He has published two books and a number of articles on religions role in American politics, including A Bridging of Faiths: Religion and Politics in a New England City (co-authored with N.J. Demerath III, 1992) and the edited collection Cultural Wars in American Politics: Critical Reviews of a Popular Myth (1997). He also has studied religious organizations and social movements, and edited a recent collection called Promise Keepers and the New Masculinity: Private Lives and Public Morality (2001) and co-edited Sacred Companies: Organizational Aspects of Religion and Religious Aspects of Organizations (1998).
For his work, Williams has been honored twice with Distinguished Article awards, once from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (1992) and once from the Religion Section of the American Sociological Association (2000). He also received a National Endowment for the Humanities award in 1992. Williams is past-chair of the Religion Section of the ASA, and was recently chosen editor-elect for the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Along with the Youth and Religion Project, Williams is also working on a second research project titled Religion, Cultural Authority, and Academic Life. This is a study of the academic careers and publication records of scholars who are Evangelical Protestants in their religious commitments. The project, supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts examines the ways in which religious commitments affect the research these scholars do, and conversely, how intellectual scholarship affects religious practices and beliefs. In addition, Williams addresses questions regarding the extent to which conservative Protestants are now working within the mainstream of contemporary academic life.
Raised in the Presbyterian Church, Williams now attends an Episcopalian congregation. When not working, he plays guitar and banjo in musical styles ranging from rock n roll to bluegrass, is a devoted fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, and is an enthusiastic (which is not to say good) golfer.
Rhys H. Williams
Associate Professor and Department Head
Department of Sociology
P.O. Box 210378
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0378
Janet Armitage was employed as a research assistant with Y&RP from 1999-2000. Janet is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIU-C). She received her BA (1992) from Marquette University and MA (1995) in sociology from Illinois State University. Her research interests include race & ethnic relations, immigration, social movements, and minority families; specifically, her dissertation research looks at the use of networks within the contemporary anti-immigration movement in the United States.
Sayida Baste worked as field & research investigator with Y&RP from June 2000 to December 2000. She received her BS from Loyola University in Psychology & Sociology. Sayida is currently working on her MS in sociology at University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). Her research interests include the impact of institutional religion, or lack thereof, on youth development and identity.
Mary Jean Cravens worked as a research assistant from Spring 2000 to December 2001. Mary Jean is currently a Ph.D. student in sociology at UIC. She received her BA (1997) and MA (1999) in sociology from UIC. Her research interests include race, ethnicity, and gender, the sociology of aging, the sociology of animals in society, and qualitative methods. Her Master's project looked at child rearing patterns and gender differences in personality. Mary Jean recently began working full time in the Sociology Department at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Rhonda Dugan was employed with Y&RP as a research assistant (January 1999-July 1999) and as Project Coordinator (August 2000-August 2002). She is a Ph.D. student in sociology at UIC. She received her BA (1993) and MA (1996) in sociology from Illinois State University. Her areas of interests include race, ethnicity, and gender; immigration, popular culture/media, and qualitative methods. Her dissertation research looks at the racial and ethnic identity negotiations of black British female immigrants living in the United States and who are married to African American men.
Korie L. Edwards worked as a research assistant for Y&RP during the Summer 2000 internship program. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in sociology at UIC and received a BS in Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology. Her research interests include interracial social networks, race relations, and urban poverty. Kories dissertation research looks at black/white interracial churches.
Heather Feldhaus worked with Y&RP from Fall 2000 through 2001. She received her BA (1995) and MA (1997) in sociology from the University of South Alabama and has been at SIU-C since 1997. Heather is ABD and was employed as a lecturer at SIU-C for 2001-2002. Her research interests center on young people, education, and stratification, and her dissertation research looks at how certain family background characteristics are related to the ways that young people think about and plan for their post high school achievement.
Jennifer Janis worked as a research assistant for Y&RP from January 2000 through October 2001. She received a BA in Urban Ministries from the Moody Bible Institute and graduated with a MA from the College of Education at UIC. Before beginning her work at UIC, Jenni taught first grade for two years at a school on the west side of Chicago and has volunteered with numerous youth ministries and organizations in both Chicago and her hometown of Cleveland, OH.
Elise Martel worked as a research assistant for Y&RP from July 1996 through July 1998. She received her MA in Sociology at UIC and is currently working on her Ph.D. in area of labor, identity, and industrial sociology. Elise also has professional experience in advertising and organized labor. She has a paper published "From Mensch to Macho: The Social Construction of a Jewish Masculinity" in Men and Masculinities, Sage Publications, 2001.
Jon Stamm currently works as a research assistant for Y&RP. He received his BA (1996) in sociology from Illinois State University. Jon finished his MA in 1999 at UIC, which looked at variances in worship style and doctrine in Anabaptist congregations. His research interests include the sociology of religion and popular culture. Jon plans to complete his dissertation work on the genres of Christian music, specifically hard core and punk.
Gira Vashi began working as an intern during the summer of 2000 and later worked as a research assistant from the summer of 2000 and later worked as a research assistant from the summer through fall of 2001. She received her BS in Microbiology from Indiana University in Bloomington and is finishing up her MA work at UIC in with Steve Warner. Gira plans to pursue further studies in globalization.