Elaine Howard Ecklund

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 six books and numerous peer-reviewed research articles and op-eds. She has received grants and awards 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, among others. 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.