Gorski named Goff Professor of Sociology and of Religious Studies

Philip S. Gorski
Philip S. Gorski

Philip S. Gorski, a globally recognized sociologist and scholar of religion, has been appointed the Frederick and Laura Goff Professor of Sociology and Professor of Religious Studies, effective immediately.

He is a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in the departments of sociology and religious studies.

Gorski joined the Yale faculty in 2004 after holding faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has held visiting positions at Peking State University, EHESS Paris, the University of Konstanz, and Université Libre de Bruxelles, and Yale-NUS College Singapore. He is a comparative-historical sociologist with strong interests in theory and methods and in modern and early modern Europe. His empirical work focuses on topics such as state-formation, nationalism, revolution, economic development and secularization with particular attention to the interaction of religion and politics. He received his A.A. from Deep Springs College, his B.A. from Harvard, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

In addition to co-authoring or co-editing five volumes, and writing dozens of articles and book chapters, Gorski is the author of four acclaimed monographs: “The Disciplinary Revolution: Calvinism, Confessionalism and the Growth of State Power in Early Modern Europe” (2003), “The Protestant Ethic Revisited” (2011), “American Covenant: A History of Civil Religion From the Puritans to the Present” (2017), now in its second edition, and “American Babylon: Democracy and Christianity Before and After Trump” (2020). The latter two exemplify Gorski’s aptitude for advancing new ways of understanding the role of religion in American life, challenging commonly held beliefs. “American Covenant” reveals how religious nationalism and radical secularism both undermine American democracy, while “American Babylon” unearths the historical context behind contemporary right-wing religious extremism. Gorski’s next book (with Samuel Perry), “The Flag and the Cross: White Christian Nationalism and the Threat to American Democracy” (forthcoming 2022) unravels the complex relationship between racial, religious, and national identity in American history and politics.

In recognition of this work, Gorski has received the Lewis A. Coser Award for Theoretical Agenda Setting in Sociology, the Best Article Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and the Barrington Moore Prize of the American Sociological Association for Best Article in Comparative-Historical Sociology, as well as grants and fellowships from the John Templeton Foundation, and Lichtenberg Kolleg, Göttingen.

At Yale, Gorski is an involved and committed university citizen. He advances our intellectual strengths as a co-director of Yale’s Center for Comparative Research (CCR), and co-chair of the Religion and Politics Colloquium at the Yale MacMillan Center. He was also named chair of the Department of Sociology, effective July 1. And he advances Yale’s interests on the global stage in his role as faculty director of the New Haven Office of Yale-NUS College.

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