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Professor Emeritus
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B.Th., Theology, Seminário Teológico Batista, 1979
LL.B., Civil Law, Law School, Universidade Católica de Pernambuco, 1980
M.Div., Social Work, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1983
M.A., Sociology, Vanderbilt University, 1986
Ph.D., Sociology, Vanderbilt University, 1990


American Catholicism, American Religion, Christianity: A Sociological Analysis, Belief and Unbelief in Modern Society, Blue and Red America: Competing Visions of Society, The Prophets of Dixie, The Social Animal: A Sociological Analysis, Socialization and Society, Sociological Thought and Methods, Sociology of Education, Sociology of Immigration, Sociology of Religion, and Work and Society.


I am interested in the study of social institutions. My research has included the areas of Sociology of Religion, Sociology of Education, and Sociology of Work. I have also researched Immigration as well. My interest in Immigration Studies comes from the five-year survey I conducted with Dr. Debra Schleef on Latinos in Central Virginia. In the area of religion I have studied Protestant mission work in Latin America, conservative Christianity in America, and local congregations in the Shenandoah Valley. In the areas of education and work my studies have focused on economic development in Brazil and in Nicaragua.

I accepted the position of professor of Sociology at James Madison on July 1, 2004. Prior to that I served at the University of Richmond, where I started my professional career in 1993.

My service to the discipline has included research presentations at international and national sociological conferences, area studies (Latin America, and Brazil) conferences, and religious studies conferences. I have served on committees of the American Sociological Association and the Southern Sociological Society, and have reviewed research for several academic journals.


My first book Gloryland: Christian Suburbia, Christian Nation(see below) was published November 2007 by Praeger Books. It is a study of conservative American Protestantism. My second book (co-authored with Dr. Debra Schleef), Latinos in Dixie: Class and Assimilation in Richmond, Virginiawas published in October 2009 by SUNY Press. It is the first large-scale survey study of Hispanics in the state of Virginia. My third book, Liberal Church, Traditional Congregations: UCC Identity in the Shenandoah Valley came out in 2010 as a result of a 2-year study of local Valley congregations. It was published by Lexington Books. My fourth book, Almost Home: A Brazilian American's Reflections on Faith, Culture, and Immigration will be published this fall by the University of Wisconsin Press.

I have also contributed book chapters to three edited collections: História das Religiões no Brasil (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, 2011), The People’s History of Christianity (vol. 6, Augsburg/Fortress Press, 2007) and Globalization, Urbanization, and the State: Selected Studies on Contemporary Latin America (University Press of America, 1996). And my scholarly works have been published in academic journals since 1983. American journals that have published my research include the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral SciencesJournal of American and Comparative Culture, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, the Journal of Church and State, the Review of Religious Research, Sociology of Religion, and Work and Occupations. Abroad I have published in the International Review of Modern Sociology, the International Review of Missions, and Dados.

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