Episode 55: Amy Adamczyk on parents and religion

Amy Adamczyk is Professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Her latest book, Handing Down the Faith: How Parents Pass Their Religion on to the Next Generation, is co-authored with Christian Smith, Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, and is soon to be released by Oxford University Press. I talked with Amy about the new book and about some of her other work. She’s incredibly productive and is always in the midst of a fascinating and socially relevant research project.

For Handing Down the Faith, she and her team interviewed more than 230 parents in the U.S. – diverse in numerous ways – who shared their thoughts and feelings about how they’re raising their children with (or in some cases without) their faith. This excerpt from the book’s introduction provides a teaser for what the researchers aimed to do: “We know a lot about the importance of parents in faith transmission and factors that influence its effectiveness. But we know much less about the actual beliefs, feelings, and activities of the parents themselves when it comes to the intergenerational transmission of religious faith and practice… What do American religious parents actually assume, desire, and say they do to try to pass on religion to their children?”

Amy also tells us about her recent article (co-authored with Jacob Felson) in the American Sociological Association journal Socius, titled “Online or In-Person?  Examining College Decisions to Reopen during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Fall 2020,” which delivered some surprising results.

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