Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

Table of Contents | Cover Page  |  Editors  |  Contributors  |  Introduction  |  Web Version

(1950-) Ph.D. Yale University. After spending more than a decade at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Ammerman became Professor of Sociology of Religion at Hartford Seminary in July 1995, and President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion in 1996. She also has been recognized by being selected as the Religious Research Association's H. Paul Douglass lecturer.

One of the most highly productive and well-known women in the sociology of religion, Ammerman has focused her research upon Christian fundamentalism and congregational studies. Her two best known books, Bible Believers: Fundamentalists in the Modern World (Rutgers University Press 1987) and Baptist Battles: Social Change and Religious Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention (Rutgers 1990), analyze the far-reaching changes that are occurring within one fundamentalist denomination. A third book, Southern Baptists Observed: Multiple Perspectives on a Changing Denomination (University of Tennessee Press 1993), is less well known and more theoretical than the first two, but it is equally as important for understanding the dynamics of change within a fundamentalist denomination. The books, however, are more than case studies of change and conflict within one group; Ammerman places her analysis within the larger context of what happens when fundamentalist groups grapple with the effects of modern history and intraorganizational tensions between moderates and conservatives. In addition to her work on the Southern Baptists, she has contributed as both editor and author to Accounting for Christian Fundamentalisms (University of Chicago Press 1994), a part of the Fundamentalism Project under the direction of Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, and has written chapters in other volumes produced in this series.

After completing her work on the Southern Baptists, Ammerman turned her attention to the broader study of congregations in changing communities. Funded by the Lilly Endowment, she has been involved with colleagues in a large national research project whose goal is to understand what happens to religious congregations as they confront the myriad changes occurring within American society. This resulted in her book Congregation and Community (Rutgers 1997).

Helen Rose Ebaugh

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