Prof. Chris Scheitle
B.A. 2003 Trinity University (San Antonio, TX)
M.A. 2005 Penn State University
Ph.D. 2008 Penn State University
Teaching and research interests:
I am broadly interested in the sociological nature of religion. That is, I try to understand how religion is shaped by society and how society is shaped by religion. My first book examined the largest Christian nonprofits in the United States to try and understand what activities they are engaged in, how they are operated, and how they fit into the landscape of American religion.
My second book looks at how the United States has a unique religious geography that is the product of social and historical forces.
Why did you become a sociologist?
When I was first exposed to the discipline of sociology as an undergraduate I was fascinated that you could study things like religion, crime and inequality in a systematic and empirical way. I had previously just seen these as abstract philosophical matters, not as issues where you could collect data, analyze them and understand them scientifically. I was instantly hooked and never looked back.
Favorite film with sociological implications\content:
Almost every film has some sociological content or implications, so it is difficult to choose. For now, I will say Spellbound. It is a documentary about the National Spelling Bee. It is a surprisingly exciting film as you start to cheer for the kids, but if you pay attention it also highlights disparities in economic and social resources and how that affects life outcomes.
Something about yourself (hobbies, where you are from, non-academic interests):
I enjoy photography, I have two cats (Callie and Jupiter), and I'm originally from a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth.