Christian Smith

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Christian Smith

Template:TOCnestleft Christian Smith is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, Director of the Notre Dame Center for Social Research, Principal Investigator of the National Study of Youth and Religion, and Principal Investigator of the Science of Generosity Initiative.

Smith worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1994 to 2006, where he served as Associate Chair of the Department of Sociology from 2000 to 2005. Smith holds an MA (1987) and PhD (1990) in Sociology from Harvard University and has studied Christian historical theology at Harvard Divinity School and other Boston Theological Institute schools. Smith’s BA is in sociology (1983), from Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts.

Before moving to UNC Chapel Hill in 1994, Smith taught for six years at Gordon College. Since 2006, Smith has brought in more than $7.5 million in research grant money to Notre Dame. During his years at UNC Chapel Hill, Smith brought in about $8 million of research grant money. Smith is the author, co-author, or editor of numerous books, including Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Emerging Adults, What is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up; Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood; Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers; Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money; Moral, Believing Animals: Human Culture and Personhood; The Secular Revolution: Power, Interests, and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life, American Evangelicalism: Embattled and Thriving, and The Emergence of Liberation Theology: Radical Religion and Social Movement Theory. He is also author or co-author of many journal articles. Smith’s scholarly interests focus on American religion, sociological theory, cultural sociology, adolescents and emerging adults, generosity, the philosophy of social science, and personalism.[1]

"Divided by Faith"

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America. Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith, published: 06 September 2001.

"The Emergence of Liberation Theology"

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The Emergence of Liberation Theology: Radical Religion and Social Movement Theory was published by Christian Smith, University of Chicago Press 08/28/1991.

Time at Chapel Hill

I was on faculty at Carolina from 1994 to 2006. It was a miracle I was hired, since my job talk was pretty bad, but it proved a wonderful department in which to work and I hope I made a useful contribution. When I arrived as a young assistant professor, my chair, Arne Kalleberg, advised me (1) not to study religion, and (2) not to write books, but journal articles instead. As it turned out, writing books about religion was exactly what I did and with more than a little success.

So many specific memories of my time at UNC stick in my mind. Being picked up at RDU in 1993 by Glen Elder for my job interview, my stay at the Carolina Inn, fall departmental picnics, watching from my Hamilton Hall window torrential rain pouring down and flooding the next-door parking lot, Christmas parties at Arne’s house, the ongoing support and advice of Peter Bearman, great lunch conversations with Sherryl Kleinman, working with Bev Wiggins at IRSS, a lunch conversation in the arboretum with Ken Bollen about democracy in Latin America, lunches at Sutton’s downtown with graduate students, post-hurricane scenes of near apocalypse with trees blown down all over campus quads, hearing of the start of the Iraq War during a grad recruitment weekend meeting at Rachel Rosenfeld’s home, specific dissertation defenses, Rachel’s memorial service, daily hikes to FGI for survey work on Franklin Street, Social Forces book review editor work in a windowless room across from Dick Simpson’s office, meeting a cold Dick Cramer in Bruegger’s Bagels after a horrible winter ice storm that knocked out electricity for days, working as Associate Chair with an always-rational chair in Howard Aldrich, receiving an email from then grad-student Kraig Beyerlein mid-morning on Sept 11, 2001 that some kind of terrorist attack had taken place in NYC and then watching it unfold on TV in the sociology office with horrified colleagues, and many, many more, both great, difficult, amusing, and fond.[2]

Resisting Reagan

Resisting Reagan THE U.S. CENTRAL AMERICA PEACE MOVEMENT, CHRISTIAN SMITH: 1996.

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A comprehensive analysis of the U.S. Central America peace movement, Resisting Reagan explains why more than one hundred thousand U.S. citizens marched in the streets, illegally housed refugees, traveled to Central American war zones, committed civil disobedience, and hounded their political representatives to contest the Reagan administration’s policy of sponsoring wars in Nicaragua and El Salvador.

Focusing on the movement’s three most important national campaigns—Witness for Peace, Sanctuary, and the Pledge of Resistance—this book demonstrates the centrality of morality as a political motivator, highlights the importance of political opportunities in movement outcomes, and examines the social structuring of insurgent consciousness. Based on extensive surveys, interviews, and research, Resisting Reagan makes significant contributions to our understanding of the formation of individual activist identities, of national movement dynamics, and of religious resources for political activism.[3]

600 Local Activists Reclaim Dr. King's Radical Legacy

According to Will Jones, a graduate student at UNC and an activist with the Carolina Socialist Forum, Internationalist Books, and the North Carolina chapter of the Committees of Correspondence.

Chapel Hill - Six hundred people came out Monday, January 20, 1998 for a march and rally in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dedication to radical social change. The Chapel Hill/Carrboro NAACP, in coalition with more than thirty other organizations, organized this year's march to mark recent gains by the UNC Housekeepers Association and the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Black Public Works Association. According to long-time Chapel Hill activist Joe Straley, this was the largest such event the town had ever seen.

The size of the march reflected two months of dedicated coalition work. The NAACP, the BPWA, and the HKA worked with the Carolina Socialist Forum, the Coalition for Economic Justice, the Lesbian Avengers, the Feminist Alliance and other groups to build a coalition to plan the celebration. Organizers sent over 800 letters and flyers asking community and work place organizations, churches, and campus groups to spread the word and to join the march. They spoke before congregations, on the radio, and local cable access television, and passed out thousands of flyers advertising the event.

The day before the march, Carolina Socialist Forum began the celebration with a panel discussion entitled Civil Rights for the 1990s: A Call for Economic Justice. Dr. Gerald Horne, director of the Black Cultural Center, began the forum with an historical view of the relationship between racism and economic exploitation in the United States. Lesbian feminist activist Mab Segrest followed by pointing out the need for a global perspective on social inequality in the present period. Lizbeth Melendez, who is helping Guatemalan poultry workers organize a union in Morganton NC, concluded with a local view of the relationship between racial justice and the union movement. All three speakers stressed the centrality of economic justice in civil rights struggles for people of color, women, lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, and other targets of discrimination.

Martin Luther King Day began with a rally on the steps of the Chapel Hill post office. Dave Lippman warmed up the crowd with songs, and the Internationalist Bookstore displayed a selection of books on Dr. King and the civil rights movement. As the crowd grew from 50 to 75 to 150 people, Hank Anderson of the NAACP called them closer for a series of speeches.

Speakers included Joe Straley, John Herrera, Gerald Horne, and other Chapel Hill activists. Alley Murphey brought greetings from the Housekeepers Association at Eastern Carolina University, and Christian Smith of the UNC Housekeepers read a poem. By the time Ange-Marie Hancock of the Feminist Alliance and the Coalition for Economic Justice introduced the chants for the march, the crowd had grown to 400.

The march began with a short walk to Silent Sam, a confederate war memorial on the UNC campus. There NAACP president Fred Battle and Yonnie Chapman of the Internationalist Bookstore spoke of the need to acknowledge the history of racism at UNC. Silent Sam, they explained, represents the hypocrisy of a university fabled for its liberalism where many of the campus buildings are named for slave owners. One hall, Saunders, is even named for the founder of North Carolina's Ku Klux Klan. Chapman suggested that one way to rectify UNC's racist past would be to replace Silent Sam with a monument to the black workers who had built and maintained the University for 200 years. UNC student Courtney Scott then led the crowd in the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing."[4]

References

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