Promoted to Professor
Department of Sociology
Daniel V. A. Olson received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago (1987) and joined the Purdue faculty in August of 2007 after being at Indiana University South Bend where he was Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
Much of Dan’s research combines large scale surveys, census data, and information from religious organizations to explore whether and how the religious composition of geographic areas affects the religious behavior of individuals and religious organizations located in those same areas e.g., “Religious Pluralism and Participation: Why Previous Research is Wrong,” American Sociological Review 2002; and “Why Do Small Religious Groups Have More Committed Members?” Presidential Address to the Religious Research Association, Review of Religious Research 2008. A major point of this research agenda is to discern whether religious diversity and competition among religious groups leads to declining religiosity (as secularization theories argue) or to greater religiosity as new theories of religious competition suggest. In two edited volumes he explores questions of modernization and secularization, The Role of Religion in Modern Societies (coedited with Detlef Pollack, Routledge, 2007) and The Secularization Debate (coedited with William Swatos, Rowman & Littlefield, 2000). Other research touches on a range of topics including religion and politics "Religiously Based Politics: Religious Elites and the Public," Social Forces 1992. He is past president of the Religious Research Association and past chair of the Sociology of Religion Section of the American Sociological Association and regularly serves on journal editorial boards.