Faculty/Staff Directory

Back to Search


View All Faculty/Staff (By Name)


View All Faculty/Staff (By Department)

Fred Kniss

DEPARTMENT: Provost's Office


LOCATION: Main Campus, Harrisonburg | CC 318

PHONE: (540) 432-4100

EMAIL: fred.kniss@emu.edu

Fred Kniss is an EMU alum (BA ’79) and has served as provost of EMU since July 1, 2009. Prior to that, he was Professor and Chair of Sociology at Loyola University Chicago, where he also founded and directed the McNamara Center for the Social Study of Religion and served for one year as Interim Dean of the Graduate School. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1992. His research has examined new immigrant religion, religious change and conflict, faith-based international relief and development organizations, and the so-called “culture wars.” He is co-author of Sacred Assemblies and Civic Engagement: How Religion Matters for America’s Newest Immigrants. He has also published a variety of articles and chapters on religious and cultural change, and is the author of Disquiet in the Land, a study of cultural conflict among U.S. Mennonites in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has served as president of the Association for the Sociology of Religion and as chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Sociology of Religion. He has held editorial positions for the American Journal of Sociology, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Sociology of Religion. He is married to Rosalyn Myers Kniss, Division Administrator of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He and Rosalyn are parents of two sons, both of whom are graduates of EMU.


BA, Eastern Mennonite University
MA, University of Chicago
PHD, University of Chicago


2014. “Against the Flow: Learning from New, Emergent, and Peripheral Religious Currents.” Sociology of Religion 75: 351-366.

2012. “Beyond the Liberal-Conservative Divide: Assessing the Relationship between Religious Denominations and Their Associated LGBT Organizations.” Qualitative Sociology 35: 65-87. [Co-authored with Todd Fuist and Laurie Cooper Stoll.]

2010. “What’s All the Fuss About? The Conflict between Science and Religion over Sexual Diversity.” Pp. 46-56 in God, Science, Sex, Gender: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Christian Ethics, edited by Patricia Beattie Jung and Aana Marie Vigen. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

2008. “ISKCON and Immigrants: The Rise, Decline, and Rise Again of a New Religious Movement.” The Sociological Quarterly 49: 79-104. [Co-authored with Travis Vande Berg.]

2007. Sacred Assemblies and Civic Engagement: How Religion Matters for America’s Newest Immigrants. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. [Co-authored with Paul Numrich]

2005. “Immigrant Congregational Names: Immigrant and Civic Considerations.” Names 53: 275-292. [Co-authored with Paul Numrich.]

2005. “Conflict and the Telling of North American Mennonite History.” Journal of Mennonite Studies 23: 107-116.

2004. “Religious Movements.” Pp. 694-715 in Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, edited by David A. Snow, Sarah Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers. [Co-authored with Gene Burns.]

2003. “Mapping the Moral Order: Depicting the Terrain of Religious and Cultural Conflict.” Pp. 331-347 in Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, edited by Michele Dillon. New York: Cambridge University Press.

1998. “Listening to the Disenfranchised: Toward a Multiparty Conception of American Religion.” Pp. 72-90 in Re-Forming the Center: American Protestantism from 1900 to the Present, edited by Douglas Jacobsen and William Trollinger. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

1998. “Mennonites and Conflict: Reexamining Mennonite History and Contemporary Life.” Mennonite Quarterly Review 72: 121-139 [co authored with Stephen Ainlay].

1997. Disquiet in the Land: Cultural Conflict in American Mennonite Communities. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

1997. “Culture Wars(?): Remapping the Battleground.” Pp. 259-280 in Culture Wars in American Politics: Critical Reviews of a Popular Thesis, edited by Rhys Williams. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

1997. “The Effect of Religious Orientation on International Relief and Development Organizations.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36: 93-103. [Co authored with David Todd Campbell].

1996. “Ideas and Symbols as Resources in Intrareligious Conflict: The Case of American Mennonites.” Sociology of Religion 57: 7-23.

1995. “Analyzing Intradenominational Conflict: New Directions.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 34: 172-185. [Co authored with Mark Chaves.]

1993. “Straining at the Ties that Bind: Congregational Conflict in the 1980s.” Review of Religious Research 34: 193-209. [Co authored with Penny E. Becker, Stephen J. Ellingson, Richard W. Flory, Wendy Griswold, and Timothy Nelson.]

1990. “Root Paradigms and Intradenominational Conflict: The Fellowship of Concerned Mennonites.” Pp. 67-93 in Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. II, edited by Monty Lynn and David Moberg. Greenwich: JAI Press.

1988. “Toward a Theory of Ideological Change: The Case of the Radical Reformation.” Sociological Analysis 49: 29-38. [Reprinted in Time, Place and Circumstance: Neo-Weberian Studies in Religion, Culture and Society, 1990, edited by William Swatos. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.]

Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts

  • 2013. “Against the Flow: Learning from New, Emergent, and Peripheral Religious Currents.” Presidential address at Association for the Sociology of Religion annual meeting.
  • 2010. “Transnationalism, Sectarianism, and Civic Engagement.” American Sociological Association annual meeting.
  • 2008. “Understanding Religious Responses to Homosexuality.” Society for the Scientific Study of Religion annual meeting. [Co-authored with Todd Fuist and Laurie Stoll.]