Department of Sociology and Anthropology

University of Mississippi

Amy McDowell

Biography | Research | Publications | CV


Amy McDowell

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Ph.D, University of Pittsburgh
Religion, Gender & Sexuality, Culture, Qualitative Methods
Lamar Hall 513  |  662-915-1235

Office Hours
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 3:00-4:00 & by appointment

Soc 101 Introductory Sociology
Soc 336 Sociology of Religion
Soc 425 Religion, Gender, and Sexuality (cross-listed as GSt 425)
Soc 433 Theories of Gender & Sexuality (new course; cross-listed as GSt 433)
Soc 451 Topics in Sociology


Although my childhood roots are in Blue Springs, Mississippi, I have spent time in other parts of the United States. As a young adult, I lived in Pensacola, Florida, which is where I discovered the energy of punk and indie rock music shows, experiences that later influenced my sociological perspective and research. After spending many years in the southeast, I moved to the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs to finish my B.A. in Sociology. For graduate school, I attended the University of Pittsburgh where I received my M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology as well as a Ph.D. certificate in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. With an eye on music, my master’s thesis examined how women and queer identified artists enact independent music scenes in a gentrifying neighborhood. For my dissertation, I shifted my attention to religion in subcultural music and studied how U.S. Christian Hardcore and Taqwacore (“taqwa” means God consciousness in Arabic) youth express religion and politics in punk rock. While finishing my dissertation, I held an appointment as a Visiting Instructor in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS) Program at the University of Pittsburgh. In GSWS, I taught courses that reflect my enthusiasm for feminist inquiry and social change. In the fall of 2014, I returned south and joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Mississippi.


My research interests include religion, gender and sexuality, popular culture, performance, and qualitative research methods. Much of my latest work focuses on how young people use defiant music to make religion their own outside of religious institutions and/or to contest dominant racial frames about marginalized religious groups (e.g. Muslims). I am currently working on a project that examines how the embodied practice of religion naturalizes the relationship between sex, gender, and sexuality at both interactional and institutional levels.

Selected Publications

2017. “Aggressive and Loving Men: Gender Hegemony in Christian Hardcore Punk.” Gender & Society 31(2): 223-44. doi:10.1177/0891243217694824

2016. ““This is for the Brown Kids!” Racialization and the Formation of “Muslim” Punk Rock.” Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. doi:10.1177/2332649216647747

2014. “Warriors and Terrorists: Antagonism as Strategy in Christian Hardcore and Muslim ‘Taqwacore’ Punk Rock.” Qualitative Sociology 37 (3): 255-276. doi:10.1007/s11133-014-9279-7

2012. Kelsy Burke & Amy McDowell. “Superstars and Misfits: Two-Pop Trends in the Gender Culture of Contemporary Evangelicalism.” Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 24 (1): 67-79. doi:10.3138/jrpc.24.1.67

2012. Kathleen Blee & Amy McDowell. “The Duality of Spectacle and Secrecy: A Case Study of Fraternalism in the 1920s U. S. Ku Klux Klan.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 36 (1): 1-17. doi:10.1080/01419870.2012.676197

2012. Kathleen Blee & Amy McDowell (equal co-authors). “Social Movement Audiences.” Sociological Forum 27 (1): 1-20. doi:10.1111/j.1573-7861.2011.01299.x