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Kerby Goff

PhD Candidate in Sociology, ABD

Research Assistant, Association of Religion Data Archives

401 Oswald Tower
University Park , PA 16802

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. 2022 (expected) PhD in Sociology, Minor in Social Thought, Penn State University
  2. 2019 MA in Sociology, Penn State University
  3. 2016 MA in Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary
  4. 2003 BS in Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University


I study the cultural and moral dynamics of social movements and religious organizations, particularly as these dynamics intersect with gender and race. I have a background in intercultural religious studies, and I worked for about 15 years with an international religious nonprofit before beginning my PhD. This has informed my interest in religious organizations, organizing collective action, and intercultural and cross-national research. I'm pursuing these interests in three lines of research: the recent wave of racial justice protests, cross-national causes and consequences of religious restrictions and persecutions, and a historical women's movement in my dissertation.

First, with several coauthors, I research the moral intuitive underpinnings of social movement support and opposition, focusing on the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests and former president Trump's threats of repression, and I'm comparing the media focus on antifa with actual antifa presence at racial justice protests. 

Second, with coauthors, I investigate the causes and consequences of religious restrictions and persecution on social movements, non-governmental organizations, and the gender gap in religiosity. I’m also involved in an NSF grant to document and map anti-Muslim hate crimes in the U.S. over the past 30 years.

Third, in my dissertation I explore how religion is raced, classed, and gendered and the impact of these intersections on religious women’s collective action. I investigate the rise, fall, and impact of the largest and most understudied 19th century women’s movement, the Protestant Woman’s Missionary Movement, which mobilized millions to establish schools and colleges for women around the world. I will develop an original organizational data set to employ quantitative (event history and social network) and comparative-historical analysis of the movement’s emergence, death, and impact on female education. This project will illuminate the conditions, constraints, and possibilities of religiously motivated, gendered mobilization.


Religion as Catalyst and Constraint for Women’s Collective Action: The Rise, Fall, and Legacy of the Protestant Woman’s Missionary Movement, 1861-1938

Dissertation Chair(s):

Roger Finke

Research Interests:

Social movements, culture and morality, race and gender, religion, comparative historical sociology