Rice University Sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund has been elected president of the Religious Research Association (RRA) for 2023-24.
Ecklund also is the director of the Houston-based university’s Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance and is well known for her far-reaching research on how scientists view religion and how those who are religious view science.
According to an announcement from Rice, the RRA’s aims are to expand understanding of how religion affects people and society through social science and other scholarly methods. The interfaith and international association includes: college, university and seminary faculty; religious leaders; organizational consultants; laypersons; and other professionals with an interest in the intersection of religion and society.
Ecklund said in a statement, “One of my professional goals is to make sure research on religion is translated to religious leaders and members of the broader public in ways they can use.”
The RRA began as the Religious Research Fellowship in 1951 and was organized under the Institute of Social and Religious Research in association with the Federal Council of Churches.
Board of Director-at-Large Andrew Whitehead, who is an associate professor of sociology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, said that Ecklund’s work helps increase understanding of religion and how it shapes people and is shaped by people and the broader culture.
“Ecklund’s efforts to translate her research to practitioners and other interested groups is a model for us all,” Whitehead added.