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David A. Smilde Professor Department of Sociology Tulane University

David A. Smilde

Charles A. and Leo M. Favrot Professor of Human Relations
212 Newcomb Hall


Ph.D. University of Chicago


Research Interests

Sociology of Culture, Sociology of Religion, Social Movements, Political Sociology, Human Rights, and Latin America

Current Research Projects

I recently completed a special issue of Latin American Research Review entitled "Lived Citizenship and Lived Religion in Latin America's Zones of Crisis." My co-editors Jeff Rubin and Ben Jung, and I brought together a group of articles that look at the way people address contexts of crime, violence and political conflict through religious practices and with the help of religious institutions and professionals.

I am currently developing a neo-Weberian framework for understanding the current political conflict in Venezuela. The goal is to develop a perspective that recognizes the struggle against social, cultural and economic inequalities at the same time that it criticizes the concentration of political power. I will use this framework to rethink a book manuscript I had close to finished when Hugo Chávez passed away in 2013.

With a Venezuelan colleague I am close to finishing data collection for a project on students and socialism in Venezuela. Hugo Pérez Hernáiz and I seek to understand how "21st Century socialism" appeals to young people in Venezuela, why it makes sense to them and how they think it is different from 20th C socialism. The results should help us understand the growth of illiberal ideologies and movements more broadly.

Selected Publications

2014 Rubin, Jeffrey, David Smilde, and Benjamin Junge (eds). "Lived Citizenship and Lived Religion in Latin America’s Zones of Crisis." Special issue of Latin American Research Review.

2012 Bender, Courtney, Wendy Cadge, Peggy Levitt and David Smilde (eds). Religion on the Edge: Decentering and Recentering the Sociology of Religion. New York: Oxford University Press.

2011 Smilde, David and Daniel Hellinger (eds). Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy: articipation, Politics and Culture in Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy. Durham NC: Duke University Press.

2007 Smilde, David. Reason to Believe: Cultural Agency in Latin American Evangelicalism. Berkeley: University of California Press.