Head shot of Michael Emerson
  • Kinder Fellow
  • Department Head, Professor of Sociology
  • University of Illinois Chicago

Michael O. Emerson (Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1991) is Professor and Head in the Department of Sociology. He has published widely in the areas of race, religion, and urban sociology. He is the author of 15 books and nearly 100 other publications, secured over 7 million dollars in research grants, helped secure over 20 million dollars in institutional grants, and has won several national awards for his research.

He has published with Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, New York University Press, Chicago University Press, Allyn & Bacon, Prentice-Hall, Palgrave Macmillan, ASR, AJS, Social Forces, Social Problems, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Urban Research and Practice, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Annual Review of Sociology, and Sociological Quarterly among others.

Dr. Emerson also has won 7 teaching awards, mentored many graduate students, and had his work appear in hundreds of media outlets. He has served as chair of the ASA’s Public Understanding of Sociology Award, Chair of the ASA’s Religion Section, President of the Association of the Sociology of Religion, on the Council of ASA’s Racial and Ethnic Minorities Section and is the founding associate editor of ASA’s Sociology of Race and Ethnicity journal.

Currently, he is the principal investigator of the largest study of race and religion ever conducted in the United States, funded by the Lilly Endowment. This project is a multimethod study involving thousands of interviews, several experiments, focus groups, participant observation, ethnography, and content analyses. Along with co-investigator Dr. Glenn Bracey (Villanova), he is working on two books from the project. Along with Dr. Gwendolyn Purifoye (North Park), he is also studying urban public transportation systems and their impact on racial inequality.