Teaching Sociology at Princeton Theological Seminary

I’ve received my dream job. I’ve enthusiastically accepted the calling to use my expertise in sociology to the serve the students and faculty of Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS). I will start my new position as Associate Professor of Congregational Studies on July 1, 2016. See the press release from Princeton Theological Seminary here. Growing up in a Cuban-American family in a small town in Maryland, I saw how important our church community was to education, family life and welcoming newcomers from other… Read more

Christianophobia and Racism – The Similarities

In my last post, I discussed the differences between racism and Christianophobia. I am often asked if I think Christianophobia is the same as racism. I am always careful to note that there are critical differences between the two. I do not want to create the false impression that to be Christianophobic is the same as to be racist. I have seen this emotional, but overly simplistic, technique of conflating different types of bigotries used too much and so I… Read more

Christianophobia and Racism – The Differences

I find myself in a very unique position. I have done quite a bit of recent research on anti-Christian attitudes and biases. In the past, I have also done a lot of scholarly work dealing with racial issues. I do not know of anyone who has an expertise in both Christianophobia and racism. That places me in a position to understand both social dysfunctions. When I have publically discussed my work I am often asked whether Christianophobia is like racism…. Read more

Why Does American Sociology Need Critical Realism?

In this brief video interview, Professor Douglas Porpora explains how he became increasingly interested in critical realism. He briefly and eloquently addresses questions that critical realism provides better answers to than most other metatheories: What is causation? What is a good explanation? Porpora narrates how he was led to critical realism because he questioned the covering-law model of causality dominant in sociology. And he argues that motivations are not only real but potentially causal. If critical realism were to become… Read more

Want to fight Islamophobia? Deal with Christianophobia.

My article on Islamophobia and Christianophobia can be found at The Stream. As many of you know I will respond to some comments here if you want to make them. But I will also eliminate comments that are merely argumentative and do not move the conversation forward. Have a Happy New Year!!! Read more

American and Chinese ways of mourning

While loss of a loved one is universal, the way we mourn that loss varies by culture. This is important to sociologist Becky Yang Hsu’s research on happiness in China as she observed the difference between Chinese and US ways of facing loss. She shares her reflections here mixing research and personal experience, particularly on the different ways friends and colleagues offered solace or connection when they received news of her mother’s passing.   Read more

Critical Realism, Sociology and History Webinar, Dec. 9th 2015, 2:30 EST with George Steinmetz

What is the best approach to historical research, a search for general causal laws, an ideographic description of unique events, or some combination of those approaches? s part of a 3-year grant, I’m working with several senior scholars to teach critical realism and explore its implications for sociological research. Join us tomorrow, December 9th, 2015 from 2:30-4 pm with Professor George Steinmetz (University of Michigan at Ann Arbor) who will talk about Critical Realism, Sociology and History. In this webinar, Professor Steinmetz will address… Read more

Virtue and Vulnerability

  This post was originally published on my homepage, margaritamooney.com, on September 3, 2015. Is Viktor Frankl’s life a story of resilience or vulnerability? It’s both, I think. Frankl survived the Nazi concentration camps and went on to an influential career as a psychiatrist and writer. Yet, he never forgot how his experiences of pain and suffering formed his own social ethic. As he writes in the epilogue entitled “The Case for a Tragic Optimism”, added to the 1984 edition his famous… Read more

Are Non- Religious Children Really More Altruistic?

Guest post by Robert Woodberry “Religious Children are Meaner than Their Secular Counterparts” proclaimed a headline in the Guardian. “Religious Kids are Jerks” raved the Daily Beast. Hundreds of other newspapers and blogs touted similar articles: the Economist, Forbes, Good Housekeeping, the LA Times, The Independent. All these articles were based on a 4 ½ page research note in Current Biology by University of Chicago professor Jean Decety and six other scholars. But what is the evidence behind these claims?… Read more

A Critique of the Religion and Generosity Study

I recently published my assessment of the recent study on religion and generosity. I pointed out that the author’s confidence in the study is misplaced. The link to my comments is below. I will take comments on this critique here, but be mindful of my new policy on comments. Read more

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