Christian Smith

Christian SmithCourtesy University of Notre Dame

Christian Smith is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, Director of the Notre Dame Center for Social Research, Principal Investigator of the National Study of Youth and Religion, and Principal Investigator of the Science of Generosity Initiative. Smith worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1994 to 2006, where he served as Associate Chair of the Department of Sociology from 2000 to 2005. Smith holds an MA (1987) and PhD (1990) in Sociology from Harvard University and has studied Christian historical theology at Harvard Divinity School and other Boston Theological Institute schools. Smith’s BA is in sociology (1983), from Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts. Before moving to UNC Chapel Hill in 1994, Smith taught for six years at Gordon College. Since 2006, Smith has brought in more than $7.5 million in research grant money to Notre Dame. During his years at UNC Chapel Hill, Smith brought in about $8 million of research grant money.


Smith is the author, co-author, or editor of numerous books, including Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Emerging Adults, What is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up; Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging AdulthoodSoul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers; Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money; Moral, Believing Animals: Human Culture and Personhood; The Secular Revolution: Power, Interests, and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life, American Evangelicalism: Embattled and Thriving, and The Emergence of Liberation Theology: Radical Religion and Social Movement Theory. He is also author or co-author of many journal articles. Smith’s scholarly interests focus on American religion, sociological theory, cultural sociology, adolescents and emerging adults, generosity, the philosophy of social science, and personalism.