Sabrina M. Danielsen, MA, PhD
Sabrina M. Danielsen, MA, PhD

Sabrina M. Danielsen, MA, PhD

Assistant Professor
College of Arts and Sciences

Expertise/Specializations

  • Sociology of Religion
  • Race, Class, and Gender
  • Social Problems
  • Environment

Academic Appointments

Department

  • Cultural and Social Studies

Position

  • Assistant Professor

Biography

As a sociologist, I am fascinated by the causes and consequences of various patterns in contemporary life.  How are people’s individual lives affected by the social and historical context in which they are living? How do we construct differences between people, such as by race, social class, and gender? How are inequalities based on these differences perpetuated and how can we challenge these inequalities? These are some of the questions that drive my research and teaching. 

Much of my research has sought to understand how debates about controversial issues change over time and how these debates are informed by differences such as by race and political identity.  I have looked at how Evangelical Protestant organizations debated environmental issues since the 1980s, how diverse religious groups debated birth control around the 1930s, and how Mainline Protestants have shifted in their official statements on abortion since the 1960s.  I have discovered that often the different “sides” of a controversial debate are based in the racial and political identities of the different people and organizations.  Further, as racial and political identities of groups evolve over time, the way they debate these controversial issues can also change. 

I am currently working on an interdisciplinary research project with Dan DiLeo (Justice and Peace Studies, Assistant Professor) and Emily Burke (Creighton undergraduate student) compiling a groundbreaking comprehensive dataset of all regular bishop columns in all 178 U.S. Catholic dioceses from June 2014-June 2019. With this dataset, we seek to understand how U.S. Catholic bishops have integrated Laudato Si' and environmental teaching into their teaching ministries relative to other controversial social problems. 

In my classes, I want students to gain theoretical and research tools to help them study the structures of society that surround them and concern them. The classes I regularly teach are: 
1. Introduction to Sociology: Self and Society (SOC 101). How is social life organized? This introductory class provides an overview of the field of sociology and seeks to understand how individuals are influenced by the social and historical context in which they are living. 
2. Research Design in the Social Sciences (ANT/HAP/SOC 312). How do we ask and answer research questions about social life? The aim of this class is for students to better understand how social research is done so that they can more critically read published research and more thoughtfully create their own research studies. 
3. Social Inequality and Stratification (AMS/ANT/SOC 411). What is the nature, causes, and consequences of social inequality and stratification? This class explores both theory and empirical research related to social inequality in the United States today. 
4. Gender in American Society (AMS/SOC/WGS 318). How and why do the positions and behavior of women and men in modern American society differ? What are the consequences of these differences? This Doing Social Science course emphasizes both the current state of social science empirical research on gender and how sociologists conduct research. Students will undertake three research projects answering a question of their choosing using three different methods: field observational methods, content analysis methods, and qualitative interview methods. 

Publications and Presentations

Articles

  • "Leaving My Religion: Understanding the Relationship between Religious Disaffiliation, Health, and Well-Being.", Social Science Research, 57(May), 49-62, 2016
  • “Shifting Concerns About Social Problems: Religious and Political Identity Among Evangelical and Mainline Protestants, 1960-2013.", Journal of Religion & Society, 13(2016), 156-175, 2015
  • "Fewer and Better Children: Race, Class, Religion, and Birth Control Reform in America" Co-Author: Melissa J. Wilde. Article Awards: 1. Winner, Charles Tilly Best Award (2015) from the American Sociological Association's Comparative and Historical Section. 2. Winner, Distinguished Article Award (2015) from the American Sociological Association's Sociology of Religion Section. 3. Winner, Distinguished Article Award (2015) from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion., American Journal of Sociology, 119 (6), 1710-60, 2014
  • "Fracturing Over Creation Care? Shifting Environmental Beliefs Among Evangelicals, 1984-2010.", Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 52(1), 198-215, 2013

Editing and Reviews

  • Book Review of Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics, by Mark A. Smith., Contemporary Sociology-a Journal of Reviews, 2016
  • Book Review of The Rationalization of Miracles, by Paolo Parigi., Sociology of Religion, 75:1, 169-171, 2014

Presentations

  • Kripke Center Symposium on Religion and Politics, 2016 "Uniting in Opposition:Race and Religion in the Early Abortion Rights Movement in America", 2016
  • Kripke Center Symposium on Religion and Identity "Shifting Concerns About Social Problems: Religious and Political Identity since 1960", 2015
  • Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Conference, Race, Class, Gender, and Religion Section: "Religion, Race, Class and Gender in the Politics of Abortion before Roe v. Wade", 2014
  • Eastern Sociological Society Annual Meeting - Social Movement Activisms Session "Clergy Consultation Service and the Religious Mobilization on Abortion before Roe v. Wade", 2014
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Annual Meeting, Politics of Abortion Session "Mainline Protestants and the Politics of Abortion after Roe v. Wade", 2013
  • Culture and Interaction Cluster, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA. Sept 2013. “Religious Restructuring, Mainline Protestants, and the Politics of Abortion Since 1960”, 2013
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Annual Meeting. Phoenix, AZ. Nov 2012. Religion and Abortion Session. “Mainline Protestant Denominations and Abortion Law Reform and Repeal, 1960-1973, 2012
  • American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. Denver, CO. Aug 2012. Collective Behavior and Social Movements Roundtable. “Liberalizing on Abortion: Religion and Abortion Law Reform, 1960-1973., 2012
  • Association for the Sociology of Religion Annual Meeting. Denver, CO. Aug 2012. Moral Attitudes Session. “Mainline Protestants and the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights", 2012
  • American Sociological Association Annual Meeting. Las Vegas, NV. Aug 2011. Sociology of Culture Session, “Rightward Tendencies: Conservatism in the Age of Obama” “Fracturing Over Creation Care: Environmental Beliefs and Discourse Among Evangelicals.”, 2011
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Annual Meeting with Melissa J. Wilde: "Creating Heaven on Earth: Birth Control, Eugenics, and the Social Gospel in the Early 20th Century", 2010

Research and Scholarship

Grant Funding Received

  • CURAS Faculty Research Fund to support scholarship involving undergraduate student (Brittni Porath).
  • Louisville Institute "Climate Change and Laudato Si': A Study of U.S. Catholic Bishops, Priests, and Parishes"
  • The Dr. George F. Haddix President's Faculty Research Fund at Creighton University. With Dan DiLeo. ($15,000)

Awards and Honors

  • Winner of the Distinguished Article Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2015
  • Winner of the Charles Tilly Best Article Award, American Sociological Association's Comparative and Historical Section, 2015
  • Winner of the Distinguished Article Award, American Sociological Association's Sociology of Religion Section., 2015