I study the situated interaction of culture and cognition, along with the resulting implications for sociological theory and methods. Improving our understandings of the cognitive processes people use in everyday life enriches our knowledge about cultural elements, and their meanings. I am particularly interested in how facets of identity are positioned in relations of alliance and enmity, as well as how varying aspects of the self at times rely upon different types of cognitive processes. To explore these issues, I use a multi-site, multi-method approach that combines qualitative and quantitative data gathered via participant observation, in-depth interviews, and structured field experiments.
In my most recent research I explored culture and cognition empirically by investigating the various identities expressed by evangelical Christians and self-identified atheists, including the way members of these groups understand “religion” as a social category. The results of this project are being drafted into a book manuscript titled Thinking Through Religion: Atheists, Evangelicals and Metacognition. I am also drawing upon the same dataset to write an article making a theoretical argument expanding field theory.
In addition to my substantive research agenda, I am also working on developing and testing new pedagogical tools based on active learning.