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Roman R. Williams

Assistant Professor of Sociology

I consider myself a visual sociologist of religion—a sociologist of religion who has taken the visual turn.

I consider myself a visual sociologist of religion—a sociologist of religion who has taken the visual turn. I began using visual methods in graduate school (Boston University, Department of Sociology) as a co-investigator on Nancy Ammerman’s “Spiritual Narratives in Everyday Life” project. This Templeton Foundation funded project employed photo elicitation (PE) interviewing to explore the ways in which ordinary people practice and experience religion (or not) across the many domains of everyday life. Seeing the purchase of PE, I also incorporated it into the research design for my doctoral dissertation, an ethnography about religion, culture, and globalization among international students from Asia studying in Boston-area colleges and universities. These researches resulted in a dissertation, two peer-reviewed journal articles (Williams 2010, 2013) and a co-authored book chapter (Ammerman and Williams 2012).

As I took the visual turn in my own work, I began reaching out to other sociologists of religion interested in visual methods. Through these connections and conversations, I began to organize paper sessions at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion beginning in 2008. These sessions have generated 22 papers over the last five years and sparked interest among sociologists of religion in visual research methods. My current project involves bringing together contributions from these paper sessions into an edited volume that (1) demonstrates the potential of visual methods for the study of religion and (2) stimulates a conversation between visual methodologists and sociologists of religion. Chapters from the book will be presented in 2103 as papers at the annual meetings of IVSA and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Address

  • Street: 3201 Burton SE
  • Postcode: 49546
  • City: Grand Rapids
  • State: MI
  • Country: United States

Contact

  • Telephone: 616-526-6026
  • E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.