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Michael Wood

Assistant Professor
Sociology, Sociology

Biography

My family is centered in the Salt Lake Valley and I grew up in Sandy, Utah, but I was born Massachusetts where my family lived briefly. Eighteen years later I visited Massachusetts for the first time, though unbeknownst to me I would return there six months later as a new missionary.

My mission assignment was Portuguese-speaking, which meant I spent most of my time with Lusophone immigrants. This brought me face-to-face with ideas and issues I had never before encountered. When I returned from my mission I enrolled in a sociology course taught by Michael Cope (who was a master's student at the time) and couldn't get enough. I earned a BS in sociology with a minor in Portuguese, then an MS, also from BYU. After that I earned a PhD at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. In 2019, my family and I returned to Utah to take this position in the BYU sociology department.

Research Interests

I am a cultural sociologist interested in theory and computational methods. The main goals of my work include 1) improving conceptual development in cultural theory, especially as it relates to cognition, 2) developing and improving computational methods for the study of culture, including network analysis and computational text analysis, and 3) using these tools to study important cultural trends, including religiosity, innovation, and online social movements.

Teaching Interests

I'm currently teaching cultural sociology and sociological theory, which were two of the courses I most wanted to teach. In the future I would also be interested in offering courses on computational methods (like text analysis, network analysis, and data visualizations), and the sociology of religion.

Education

  • PhD, Sociology , University of Notre Dame (2019)
  • MS, Sociology , Brigham Young University (2014)
  • BS, Sociology , Portuguese, Brigham Young University (2012)

Honors and Awards

  • Jeanine Becker Award for Best Graduate Student Paper, Department of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame (2018 - 2018)
  • Center for the Study of Religion and Society Student Research Award, Center for the Study of Religion and Society (2017 - 2017)
  • Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts Graduate Student Research Award, Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts (2017 - 2017)
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion Student Research Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (2016 - 2016)
  • Mellon Summer Stipend, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2015 - 2015)

Memberships

  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (2014 - Present)

Courses Taught

Publications

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