skip to main content

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 3:30-4:30, Tuesdays & Thursdays 4:00-5:00

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


My childhood roots are in Blue Springs, Mississippi but I spent my young adult years in Pensacola, Florida, where I discovered the energy of punk and indie rock music shows, experiences that later influenced my sociological perspective and research. After spending most of my life in the Deep South, I moved out West and joined 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 and performed an ethnographic study of how U.S. Christian Hardcore and Taqwacore (“taqwa” means God consciousness in Arabic) youth use music to express religious identity in ‘secular’ settings. In the fall of 2014, I returned to Mississippi and joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Mississippi. At the University of Mississippi, I am affiliated with the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies and a member of the Critical Race Studies Group.


My research interests include religion, popular culture, gender and sexuality, and race/ethnicity. 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. My most recent research is an ethnography that examines how evangelical Christians are “being the church” through public service and advocacy in Mississippi. In addition to this project, I am collecting qualitative data on how evangelical women ministries define and exercise leadership at the individual and organizational level.

Selected Publications

2017. “Muslim Punk in an Alt-Right Era.” Contexts 16 (3) 63-65. doi:10.1177/1536504217732054

2017. “‘Christian But Not Religious’: Being Church as Christian Hardcore Punk.” Sociology of Religion 79 (1): 58–77. doi:10.1093/socrel/srx033

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. “Social Movement Audiences.” Sociological Forum 27 (1): 1-20. doi:10.1111/j.1573-7861.2011.01299.x