Distinguished Book Award

Purpose: To recognize the most outstanding book published by a SSSR member or members within the past two years.

Qualifications: A book may be nominated by its publisher, its author, or any other SSSR member deeming it to be of outstanding quality. Studies solely in the physical sciences tend to receive lower priority.

Criteria: The committee will judge each book's quality of scholarship, importance to the field, and relevance to the larger society. Any book 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.

Procedure: The chair of the committee must be notified of the book's nomination by May 1, 2020 via the submission form. 

Detailed instructions will be provided after the nomination form is submitted, but a copy of the book must be sent to each member of the committee by May 30, 2020. Mailing is the responsibility of the publisher and author.


Michael Emerson, Chair (Email)

Deborah Coe

Anna Sun

Eric McDaniel

Philip Schwadel


2019 Michele Margolis, From Politics to the Pews: How Partisanship and the Political Landscape Shape Religious Identity (University of Chicago Press, 2018)

2018 Christian Smith, Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters (Princeton University Press, 2017)

2017 Damon Mayrl, Secular Conversions: Political Institutions and Religious Education in the United States and Australia, 1800-2000 (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

2016 Christel Manning, Losing Our Religion: How Unaffiliated Parents are Raising Their Children (NYU Press, 2015)

2015 Gerardo Marti and Gladys Ganiel, The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity (Oxford University Press, 2014)

2014 Peter Stamatov, The Origins of Global Humanitarianism: Religion, Empires, and Advocacy (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

2013 Jason Ananda Josephson, The Invention of Religion in Japan (University of Chicago Press, 2012)

2012 Susan Crawford Sullivan, Living Faith: Everyday Religion and Mothers in Poverty (University of Chicago Press, 2012)

2011 Ahmet Kuru, Secularism and State Policies toward Religion: The United States, France, and Turkey (Cambridge University Press, 2009)