My name is Jonathan Coley. I completed my PhD in sociology at Vanderbilt University, and I am currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Monmouth College. I will join the Department of Sociology at Oklahoma State University this fall.
My research currently focuses on participation in social justice movements and the relationship between religion and social justice. In regards to the first topic, my new book Gay on God’s Campus examines participation in LGBT activist groups at Christian colleges and universities, identifying why students have decided to join and commit to LGBT activism in such conservative settings and how participation in such groups impacts students’ subsequent biographical trajectories. Similarly, in a project on the Nashville civil rights movement with Larry Isaac, Dan Cornfield, Dennis Dickerson, and James Lawson, I have examined how participation in certain “movement schools”—which offered intensive training in nonviolent direct action—prepared many students for sustained involvement in the Nashville civil rights movement and beyond.
In work on the relationship between religion and social justice more broadly, I have shown in an article in Social Currents how the “communal orientation” of many religious traditions—evident in their theological emphases on social justice (rather than personal piety)—has led them to be supportive of rights for sexual and gender minorities, despite the fact that some of these traditions have simultaneously maintained conservative positions on issues of sexual and gender difference.
My past collaborative work in the fields of social movements and political sociology has also examined the cultural impacts of the early U.S. labor movements and environmental policymaking across state legislatures.