Elaine Howard Ecklund

Areas of Interest: 
Religion, science, immigration, and culture


Elaine Howard Ecklund joined the Rice University sociology department in fall 2008. In addition Ecklund is director of the Religion and Public Life Program in the Social Sciences Research Institute and a Rice Scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy. Exploring mechanisms of institutional change draws together Ecklund's research. Specifically, she is interested in how individuals develop cognitive schema—ways of interpreting the world—that are at odds with institutions that constrain them. She then examines how individuals use such frameworks to bring changes to these larger institutions. Her research addresses this theoretical topic in the areas of religion, immigration, science, and gender. Ecklund is the author of two books with Oxford University Press, over 40 peer-reviewed research articles, and numerous op-eds. She has received over 4 million dollars in grants and awards, including those from the National Science Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, and Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Her latest book, Science Vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think, was chosen by Times Higher Education as an international book of the week and named a book of the year on religion by the Huffington Post. Her research has been covered in national and international news media, including USA Today, Nature, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist. She received a PhD in 2004 from Cornell University, where she was the recipient of the Class of 2004 Graduate Student Baccalaureate Award for Academic Excellence and Community Service. In 2013 Ecklund was winner of the Charles O Duncan Award for outstanding research and teaching achievement. Ecklund’s current research examines how scientists in eight different nations understand religion, spirituality, gender, and ethics. In addition, through a grant from the Rice Faculty Initiatives Fund, she will study African American, Asian American, and Latino American congregations in Houston in order to explore the perceived conflict between religion and science in these minority communities as well as minority representation in science.  She has written a book (with Anne Lincoln) titled Failing Families, Failing Science which examines how women and men at elite research universities negotiate careers as academic scientists alongside family life, and it will be published with New York University Press in 2016. Ecklund teaches classes at the graduate and undergraduate level on immigration, sociology of science, classical sociological theory, and sociology of religion.

Selected Recent Publications

2017 Ecklund, Elaine Howard and Christopher Scheitle, God and Humans: What Religious People think about Science, forthcoming, Oxford University Press.

2016 Ecklund, Elaine Howard and Anne E. Lincoln, Failing Families, Failing Science: Work-Family Conflict in Academic Science, forthcoming, New York University Press.

2010 Ecklund, Elaine Howard, Science Vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think. Oxford University Press.

2006 Ecklund, Elaine Howard, Korean American Evangelicals: New Models for Civic Life. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2016 Scheitle, Christopher P. and Elaine Howard Ecklund, “Recommending a Child Enter a STEM Career: The Role of Religion,” forthcoming, Journal of Career Development.

2016 Peifer, Jared, Simranjit Khalsa, and Elaine Howard Ecklund, “Political Conservatism, Religion and Environmental Consumption in the United States,” forthcoming, Environmental Politics.

2016 Johnson, David R., Christopher P. Scheitle, and Elaine Howard Ecklund, “Conservative Protestantism and Curricular Challenges across States: Mediators and Outcomes,” forthcoming, Social Science Quarterly.

2016 Chan, Esther and Elaine Howard Ecklund, “Narrating and Navigating Authorities: Understandings of the Bible and Science Among Evangelical and Mainline Protestants,” forthcoming, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

2016 Ecklund, Elaine Howard and Di Di, “A Gendered Approach to Science Ethics for US and UK Physicists,” Science and Engineering Ethics, published online.

2015 Johnson, David and Elaine Howard Ecklund, “Ethical Ambiguity in Science,” Science and Engineering Ethics, published online.

2015 Scheitle, Christopher P. and Elaine Howard Ecklund, “The Influence of Science Popularizers on the Public’s View of Religion and Science: An Experimental Assessment,” Public Understanding of Science, published online.

2015 Korver-Glenn, Elizabeth, Esther Chan, and Elaine Howard Ecklund, “Perceptions of Science Education Among African American and White Evangelicals: A Texas Case Study,” Review of Religious Research, 57(1):131-148.

2015 Johnson, David R., Christopher P. Scheitle, and Elaine Howard Ecklund, “Individual Religiosity and Orientation towards Science: Reformulating Relationships,” Sociological Science, 2:106-124.

2014 Damaske, Sarah, Elaine Howard Ecklund, Anne E. Lincoln, and Virginia J. White, “Male Scientists’ Competing Devotions to Work and Family: Changing Norms in a Male-Dominated Profession,” Work and Occupations, 41(4):477-507.

Elaine Howard Ecklund
Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology and Director, Religion and Public Life Program Ph.D., Cornell University

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