UTSA sociologist selected to lead Association for the Sociology of Religion

Christopher Ellison

Christopher Ellison

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(Aug. 12, 2013) -- Christopher Ellison, a professor of sociology and Dean's Distinguished Professor of Social Science in the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts, is in New York City to begin his term as president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (ASR). The organization is celebrating its 75th anniversary Aug. 10-12 at its annual conference.

With a diverse international membership of approximately 700 representing every continent in the world, ASR seeks to advance theory and research in the sociology of religion. The association encourages and communicates research that ranges widely across the multiple themes and approaches in the study of religion and is a focal point for comparative, historical and theoretical contributions to the field.

"It is a distinct honor to be elected president of an organization I have been associated with since I was a graduate student," said Ellison. "I would like to see the organization grow and become even more responsive to and inclusive of students and expand our international scope."

"In addition to the United States, we have many members from Europe and Canada and growing memberships in various countries in Africa," he added. "It would be nice to see more Latin American participation. I think the global focus of ASR is especially valuable, and it would be good to have more sociologists come from other areas of the discipline."

Ellison joined UTSA in 2010 and has 22 years of experience. His research focuses on the implications of religiousness and spirituality for mental and physical health and mortality risk. He also studies religious variations in family life, particularly marital and intimate relationships and childrearing.

An author of two books and more than 185 articles, book chapters and manuscripts, Ellison's research findings have appeared in the leading journals in sociology as well as other prominent specialty journals in public health, medical sociology, religious studies, family studies, political science and other fields.

Ellison has received more than $3.5 million in grant funding from the National Institute of Aging, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Lilly Endowment and several other agencies and foundations.

His honors include the Institute for Scientific Information Highly Cited Author for 2004, the John Templeton Foundation Exemplary Paper in Humility Theology Award in 1999 and the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Outstanding Young Scholar Award in Social Science and Education in 1998, among others.

Over the years, he has been elected to several prominent positions in professional organizations including the chair of the Sociology of Religion section of the American Sociological Association, president-elect of the Association for the Sociology of Religion and vice president of the Southern Sociological Society.

Ellison is co-editor of "Religion, Families and Health: New Directions in Population-based Research" for Rutgers University Press and has served on the editorial boards of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, American Journal of Sociology, Social Science Research, The American Sociologist, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Review of Religious Research and Sociology of Religion.

Ellison received a bachelor's degree in religion and a doctoral degree in sociology from Duke University in Durham, N.C.