JESSE M. SMITH

Department of Sociology
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
3311 Sangren Hall, 5257
Kalamazoo MI 49008
Phone (269) 387-3600
Contact Email: jesse.smith@wmich.edu

Academic Positions

2019 – present. Associate Professor of Sociology, Western Michigan University

2013 – 2019. Assistant Professor of Sociology, Western Michigan University

Education

2013 – Ph.D. Sociology, University of Colorado, Boulder

2009 – M.A. Sociology, University of Colorado, Boulder

2005 – B.S. Behavioral Science, Utah Valley University

Professional Interests

Sociology of Religion and Secularity; Social Psychology; Self and Identity; Deviance; Collective Behavior; Qualitative Methods

Publications

Books:

Smith, Jesse M. and Ryan T. Cragun, eds. (under contract) The Basics: Secularity and Nonreligion Bloomsbury.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

DeCamp, Whitney and Jesse M. Smith. 2019. “Religion, Nonreligion, and Deviance: Comparing Faith’s and Family’s Relative Strength in Promoting Social Conformity.” Journal of Religion and Health 58(1): 206-220.

Smith, Jesse M. 2018. “The Rhetoric of Revelation: Examining Religious Rhetoric on Secularism through an Ethnographic Content Analysis of Mormon Leadership Discourse.” Science, Religion, and Culture 5(1): 26-44.

Smith, Jesse M. 2017. “Can the Secular be the Object of Belief and Belonging? The Sunday Assembly.” Qualitative Sociology 40(1): 83-109.

Zimmerman, Kevin J., Smith, Jesse M., Simonson, Kevin, and Benjamin W. Myers. 2015. “Familial Relationship Outcomes of Coming out as an Atheist.” Secularism and Nonreligion 4(4): 1-13.

Smith, Jesse. M. 2013. “Conceptualizing Atheist Identity: Expanding Questions, Constructing Models, and Moving Forward” Sociology of Religion 74(4): 454-463.

Smith, Jesse M. 2013. “Creating a Godless Community: The Collective Identity Work of Contemporary American Atheists.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 52(1): 80-99.

Hammer, Joseph H., Cragun, Ryan T., Smith, Jesse M., and Karen Hwang. 2012. “Forms, Frequency, and Correlates of Perceived Anti-Atheist Discrimination.” Secularism and Nonreligion 1: 43-67.

Irvine, Leslie., Kahl, Kristina N., and Jesse M. Smith. 2012. “Confrontations and Donations: Encounters between Homeless Pet Owners and the Public.” (equal co-authorship) The Sociological Quarterly 53(1): 25-43.

Smith, Jesse M. 2011. “Becoming an Atheist in America: Constructing Identity and Meaning from the Rejection of Theism.” Sociology of Religion 72(2): 215-237.

Book Contributions:

Smith, Jesse M. 2017. “Communal Secularity: Congregational Work at the Sunday Assembly.” Pp. 151-170 in Organized Secularism, edited by Cragun, Ryan, Manning, Christal, and Lori Fazzino. De Gruyter Press.

Smith, Jesse M. 2017. “Secular Living: Many Paths, Many Meanings.” Pp. 515-532 in The Oxford Handbook of Secularism, edited by Phil Zuckerman and John Shook. Oxford University Press.

Smith, Jesse M. 2016. “Apostasy.” Pp. 71-91 in Beyond Religion, edited by Phil Zuckerman. Part of Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks: Religion series. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA.

Smith, Jesse M. 2016. “Expressive Nontheism: Moral Communities and Promoting the Social Good.” Pp. 98-117 in Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, edited by Franco Garelli and Roberto Cipriani. Brill Publications.

Smith, Jesse M. 2015. “Atheism.” Pp. 17-45 in World Religions and their Missions, edited by Aaron J. Ghiloni. New York. Peter Lang Publishing.

Cragun, Ryan T., Hammer, Joseph H., and Jesse M. Smith. 2013. “Atheists in North America.” Pp. 601-621 in The Oxford Handbook of Atheism, edited by Stephan Bullivant and Michael Ruse. Oxford University Press.

Smith, Jesse M. 2012. “Rejecting God, Adopting Atheism.” Pp. 341-351 in Sociological Odyssey: Contemporary Readings in Introductory Sociology, 4th ed., edited by Patricia. A. Adler and Peter Adler. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Review Essays:

Smith, Jesse M. and Ryan T. Cragun. 2019. “Mapping Religion’s Other: A Review of the Study of Nonreligion and Secularity” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 58(2): 319-335.

Invited Essays:

Smith, Jesse. M. 2016. “Whither American Freethinking? Recent Developments, Future Possibilities.” Free Inquiry April/May Vol.36 No.2

Book Review Articles:

Smith, Jesse M. 2019. Review of Atheists in American Politics: Social Movement Organizing from the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Centuries, by Richard J. Meagher. Political Science Quarterly 134(2):359-360.

Smith, Jesse M. 2017. Review of Recognizing the Non-Religious: Re-Imagining the Secular, by Lois Lee. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 27(2):124-126.

Smith, Jesse M. 2017. Review of Losing Our Religion: How Unaffiliated Parents are Raising their Children, by Christel Manning. Sociology of Religion 78(1):109-110.

Smith, Jesse M. 2016. Review of American Secularism: Cultural Contours of Nonreligious Belief Systems, by Joseph O. Baker and Buster G. Smith. American Journal of Sociology 122(1): 320-322.

Encyclopedia Entries:

Smith, Jesse M. 2016. “Deviance.” in The Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, edited by Virgil Zeigler-Hill and Todd K. Shackelford. New York: Springer. (DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1128-1)

Smith, Jesse M. 2014. “Atheism.” Pp. 41-43 in The Encyclopedia of Social Deviance, edited by Heith Copes and Craig J. Forsyth. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Smith, Jesse M. 2012. “Sociology of Religion and Crime.” Pp. 1532-1536 in The Social History of Crime and Punishment in America: An Encyclopedia edited by Wilbur Miller and Geoffrey J. Golson. Sage Publications.

Manuscripts in Review/Progress:

Smith, Jesse M. and Caitlin Halligan. “Secularity, Prosociality, and Wellbeing.”

Smith, Jesse M. “Secular Moods and Motivations: The Search for Meaning among Contemporary Seculars.”

Smith, Jesse M, and Caitlin Halligan. “Evolving Secular Paths: Implications for Identity and Cognitive Sociology”

Research Positions, Affiliations, and Groups

Member (faculty) – Group for the Study of Religion and Social Change
• Western Michigan University, Department of Sociology. Spring 2018 – present.

Advisor – Secular Surveys Project (secularsurveys.org).
• Affiliated with Partners for Secular Activism. Summer 2014 – present.

Research Associate – Atheist Research Collaborative
• Iowa State University, Department of Psychology. Summer 2011 – present.

Research Affiliate – Non-Religion and Secularity Research Network
• University of Cambridge, Interdisciplinary Research on Non-Religion and Secularity. Fall 2010 – present.

Research Assistant – University of Colorado at Boulder
• The Homeless and their Pets. Under the direction of Leslie Irvine, Fall 2010 –
Fall 2011.

Case Manager/Practicum – Wasatch Mental Health
• Specialty: J.O.S. State Program, Intensive Residential and Youth Outpatient Treatment 2004-2006.

Courses Taught

Undergraduate

Introduction to Sociology
Principles of Sociology
Classical Sociological Theory
Deviance in United States Society
Sociology of Religion
Self in Modern Society
Social Psychology
Sociology of Deviance

Graduate

Qualitative Analysis and Writing
Social Psychology of Deviance
Qualitative Methods

Online Education

Introduction to Social Psychology
Sociology of Deviance

Editorial Positions

Joint Editor, Secularism and Nonreligion, 2018 – present.

Editorial Board, Secularism and Nonreligion, 2015 – 2018.

Manuscript and Expert Reviewer

American Sociological Review
American Journal of Sociology
Science, Religion, and Culture
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
The Sociological Quarterly
Sociology of Religion
Critical Research on Religion
Secularism and Nonreligion
Psychology of Religion and Spirituality
Social Forces
Social Forum
Qualitative Sociology
Review of Religious Research
International Journal for the Psychology of Religion
Grant Proposal Baker Fund, Ohio University (external reviewer)
ASA Student Forum Advisory Session Papers
Teachers College, Columbia University, Survey scale development (external reviewer)

Professional Association Memberships

Association for the Sociology of Religion
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction
Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network

Presentations at Professional Meetings

Smith, Jesse. M. 2018. “Secular Moods and Motivations: The Search for Meaning among Contemporary Seculars.” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion annual conference. Las Vegas, Nevada.

Smith, Jesse. M. 2017. “Mormonism on Secularism: Decoding Mormon Leadership Rhetoric on Unbelief through Ethnographic Content Analysis.” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion annual conference. Washington D.C.

Smith, Jesse. M. 2017. “The Rhetoric of Revelation: An Ethnographic Content Analysis of Mormon Leadership Discourse Over Time.” Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters annual conference. Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Smith, Jesse. M. 2016. “Teaching the Sociological Imagination through Experiential Practice in the Classroom and the Research Field.” Michigan Sociological Association annual meeting. Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Smith, Jesse. M, and Whitney DeCamp. 2015. “Religion, Nonreligion, and Deviance: Comparing Faith’s Relative Strength in Promoting Social Conformity.” European Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction annual meeting. University of Salford, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Smith, Jesse. M. 2015. “Into the Field. Teaching the Craft of Qualitative Inquiry through Experiential Practice.” Qualitative Analysis Conference annual meeting. Brescia University, London, Ontario Canada.

Smith, Jesse. M. 2014. “Mission: Atheist, Mormon, and Comparative Perspectives.” American Academy of Religion annual meeting, San Diego, CA.

Smith, Jesse. M. 2014. “Atheist Churching: New Congregational Activity at the Sunday Assembly.” Non-Religion and Secularity Research Network annual meeting. Pitzer College, Claremont, CA.

Smith, Jesse. M. 2014. “Mission for Atheists? New Congregational Activity at an Atheist Church.” Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction annual meeting. San Francisco, CA.

Smith, Jesse. M. 2013. “The Social Meaning of Atheism: Constructing Worldview and Aesthetic.” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion annual meeting. Boston, MA.

Smith, Jesse. M. 2013. “The Social Deviance of Atheism: Negotiating Cultural Membership with a Stigmatized Identity.” Society for the Study of Social Problems annual meeting. New York, NY.

Smith, Jesse M. 2013. “The Social and Interactional Constitution of ‘Private’ Non-Belief: The Case of Organized Atheists in the United States.” Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction annual meeting. New York, NY.

Smith, Jesse M. and Kevin Zimmerman 2012. “Familial Relationship Outcomes of Coming Out Atheist.” National Council on Family Relations annual meeting. Phoenix, AZ.

Smith, Jesse M. 2011. “Organizing the Godless: The Collective Identity Work of Contemporary Atheists.” Association for the Sociology of Religion annual meeting, Las Vegas, NV.

Smith, Jesse M. 2010. “Becoming an Atheist in America: Constructing Identity and Meaning from the Rejection of Theism.” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion annual meeting. Baltimore, MD.

Smith, Jesse M. 2009. “Atheist Self, American Context.” Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction annual meeting. San Francisco, CA.

Professional Meeting Participation

Invited Critic. 2015. “Atheist Awakening: Secular Activism and Community in America” by Richard Cimino and Christopher Smith. Author-meets-Critics session of the Association for the Sociology of Religion annual meeting. Chicago, IL.

Presider. 2012. “Ethnography and Microsociology across the Cultural Spectrum.” ASA Student Forum Advisory Board. American Sociological Association annual meeting. Denver, CO

Session Organizer. 2012. (four different sessions for graduate student papers). ASA Student Forum Advisory Board. American Sociological Association annual meeting. Denver, CO.

Manuscript Reviewer and Housing Coordinator. 2012. ASA Student Forum Advisory Board Session(s). American Sociological Association annual meeting. Denver, CO.

Member/Panelist. 2011. ASA Student Forum Advisory Board. American Sociological Association annual meeting. Las Vegas, NV.

Organizer/Convener. 2010. “Spirituality and Well-Being.” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion annual meeting. Baltimore, MD.

Invited Talks and Classroom Lectures

Smith, Jesse M. Summer 2018. “Calling All Those of This World: The Sunday Assembly in Sociological Perspective.” Sunday Assembly. Temple B’Nai Israel. Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Smith, Jesse M. Spring 2017. “Qualitative Discourse Analysis and the Rhetoric of Revelation.” Evaluation Café talk series. Sponsored by Evaluation, Measurement and Research. Western Michigan University.

Smith, Jesse M. Fall 2014. “Qualitative Research Methodology” in Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods. Sponsored by the Graduate Center for Research and Retention of The Graduate College. Western Michigan University.

Smith, Jesse M. Spring 2012. “The Social Stigma of Atheism, and its Negotiation” in Social Deviance. Johnson and Wales University.

Smith, Jesse M. Fall 2010. “Church, Sect, Cult: Weber’s Typology” in Sociology of Religion, University of Colorado at Boulder.

Smith, Jesse M. Fall 2009. “Deviant Careers” in Deviance in U.S. Society, University of Colorado at Boulder.

Grants and Funding

Support for Faculty Scholars Award (SFSA). “Self, Narrative, and Congregation: Worship Services at the LDS Church.” Western Michigan University, Research and Sponsored Programs. Spring 2016. $1952.50).

International Education Faculty Development Fund (IEFDF). “Religion, Deviance, Stigma, and Risk-Taking.” Western Michigan University, Haenicke Institute for Global Education, Spring 2015. $1200.

College of Discovery and Dissemination Award (CDDA). “Religion, Deviance, Stigma, and Risk-Taking.” Western Michigan University, College of Arts and Sciences. Spring 2015. $1200.

Support for Faculty Scholars Award (SFSA). “Social Dynamics of Nonreligion and Nonbelief.” Western Michigan University, Research and Sponsored Programs. Spring 2014. $2000.

Online Form Inquiry (OFI). John Templeton Foundation Grant Competition. 2013. “Gods in Minds: The Science of Religious Cognition. Requested $200,000 over 4 years. Full grant proposal solicitation and possible funding denied.

Faculty Research and Travel Funding – Western Michigan University, Summer 2013 – Spring 2015. $3500

Elected Member, Student Forum Advisory Board – American Sociological Association. Travel Grant. Summer 2011. $520

Co-Investigator, “Donations and Confrontations: Homeless Pet Owners’ Interactions with the Public.” Faculty Collaboration Grant, University of Colorado at Boulder, Summer 2011. $1250

Sociology Department Out-of-Pocket Dissertation Expense Award – University of Colorado at Boulder, Spring 2011. $1000

Sociology Department Dissertation Research Grant – University of Colorado at Boulder, Fall 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2012. $1300 total.

Sociology Department Travel Grant – University of Colorado at Boulder, Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011. $1300 total.

United Government of Graduate Students Academic Travel Grant – University of Colorado at Boulder, Fall 2010. $300.

Professional, University, and Community Service

2019. Consultant. Understanding Nonreligion in a Complex Future. International research project funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

2017 – present. Committee Member. American Association of University Professors, Association Council, Sociology Representative, Western Michigan University.

2017 – present. Committee Member. Research Grant Review Committee, Graduate College, Western Michigan University,

2017. Committee Member. Charles Horton Cooley Book Award. Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction.

2016 – 2017. Graduate Student Teaching Intensive Faculty Mentor. Academic year-long Competitive Program. $1500 stipend.

2015 – 2018. Faculty Senator for the Department of Sociology. Faculty Senate, College of Arts and Sciences, Western Michigan University.

2014 – 2017. Paid Consultant and Committee Member. Derek Zuhlke. Clinical Psychology Dissertation Committee. Michigan School of Professional Psychology.

2014 – present. Kercher Endowment Committee, Committee Member, Department of Sociology, Western Michigan University.

2014 – present. Sabbatical Review Committee, Committee Member, Department of Sociology, Western Michigan University.

2013 – present. Central Graduate Committee, Committee Member, Department of Sociology, Western Michigan University.

2012 – 2013. Treasurer. Student Forum Advisory Board of the American Sociological Association.

2012 – 2013. Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honors Society Beta Chapter Vice President. University of Colorado at Boulder.

2011 – 2013. Student Forum Advisory Board of the American Sociological Association, Elected Member.

2010 – 2012. United Government of Graduate Students Sociology Department Representative. University of Colorado at Boulder.

2010 – 2012. Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honors Society Beta Chapter President. University of Colorado at Boulder.

2009 – 2010. University of Colorado at Boulder Secular Alliance Student Group Co-President and Organizer. University of Colorado at Boulder.

2008 – 2009. Sociology Subject Tutor for CU Athletics; Herbst Academic Center. University of Colorado at Boulder.

2008. Graduate Student Dissertation Award Committee Member. University of Colorado at Boulder.

2008. Graduate Student Panel Member for Incoming Sociology Students. University of Colorado at Boulder.

Graduate Student Theses Chaired

Fether, Alex (PhD) 2015-present. Dissertation Committee Chair
McLaughlin, Olivia (MA) 2015-2016. Thesis Committee Chair

Undergraduate Student Honor’s Program

McClain, Jordan 2014. Honors Thesis Committee Member
Marrow, Cesalee 2015. Honor’s College Project Chair
Taylor, Desiree 2016. Honor’s Thesis Committee Member
Kemme, Michael 2019. Honor’s Thesis Committee Member

Honors and Awards

2011. Dissertation Expense Award. Department of Sociology, University of Colorado – Boulder. Awarded by the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies in Recognition of Outstanding Dissertation Research.

2010 – 2013. Honorary Member and Chapter President of Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honors Society.

2005. Cum Laude – Utah Valley University, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.