Distinguished Article Award

Submit Nomination

Purpose: To recognize the most outstanding article published by a SSSR member or members within the previous calendar year according to the citation date. For the 2021 award, only articles with citation dates in calendar year 2020 are eligible.

Qualifications: An article may be nominated by the editor of the journal in which it appeared, by its author, or by any other SSSR member deeming it to be of outstanding quality. Articles must have been published in peer–reviewed journals. Submissions published solely in edited volumes will not be considered.

Criteria: The committee will judge each article's quality of scholarship, importance to the field, and relevance to the larger society. Any article involving some aspect of the scientific study of religion is eligible.

Award: The award will be presented at the annual meeting. It includes a plaque and $1000.

Procedures: Nominated articles must be submitted in electronic format by May 15, 2021.


Andrew Whitehead (Clemson University), Chair (Email)

Matthew Loveland (Le Moyne College)

Henri Gooren (Oakland University)

Louise Cainkar (Marquette University)



2020 Yanfei Sun, “Reversal of Fortune: Growth Trajectories of Catholicism and Protestantism in Modern China,” Theory and Society 48: 267-298.

2019 Andrew L. Whitehead, Samuel L. Perry, and Joseph O. Baker, “Make America Christian Again: Christian Nationalism and Voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election,” Sociology of Religion 79, no. 2 (Summer 2018): 147–171.

2018 Yanfei Sun, “The Rise of Protestantism in Post-Mao China:  State and Religion in Historical Perspective,” American Journal of Sociology 122, no. 6 (March 2017): 1664-1725.

2017 David Voas and Mark Chaves, “Is the United States a Counterexample to the Secularization Thesis?,” American Journal of Sociology 121, no. 5 (March 2016): 1517-1556.