Samuel Perry

During my time as a Junior Fellow, I will further develop my research agenda focusing on the intersections of family, culture, and inequality in the United States. Practically speaking, I will work toward completing my dissertation project on the evangelical adoption and orphan care movement in the U.S., and develop other projects that help us better understand religion’s influence on family life in the United States.
My research employs a variety of methods to examine how religious and moral aspects of culture shape the ways Americans think about and engage in family forms that are culturally “transgressive” or “nontraditional” such as interracial, same-sex, and/or adoptive families. Because “the family” is among the most prominent cultural institutions in American society, current transitions in the definitions, structure, and experiences of families represent welcome cultural transformations for many Americans and an ominous threat for others who feel their way of life threatened by those changes. I work to understand the various social and ideological sources of these increasingly polarizing cultural conflicts.
I am delighted at the opportunity to learn from other Junior Fellows during my fellowship year. As a sociologist by trade, I am eager to broaden my theoretical perspective on the issues that I study, and hopefully, to contribute to the development of other young scholars in the program by offering a social scientific approach.