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About Dr. Scott Draper

Personal Statement

I held a variety of jobs before becoming a sociologist.  For instance, I acted on stage in Boston, drove a limo in Los Angeles, detasseled corn in Iowa, assisted tourists at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, taught high school in Denver, and copyedited medical journals in Waco.

I am a generalist, but most of my research has been in the sociology of religion.  My work has investigated the widespread belief in angels, media consumption by religious groups, paranormal beliefs, cohabitation, God concepts, and more.

My main focus in recent years has been empirical assessment of interaction ritual theory.  The theory seeks to uncover universal patterns in micro-level social interaction, especially ways in which groups and organizations develop shared identities, moral codes, and convictions about what is true. 

I want my students to share the deep pleasure I take in doing sociology.  Increased human understanding, Max Weber’s verstehen, is sociology’s constant goal and greatest benefit.  I take great pleasure in continuing that pursuit as a member of the C of I community.


  • Ph.D., Sociology, Baylor University
  • M.A., Sociology, Baylor University
  • M.F.A., Acting, Harvard University/Moscow Art Theatre School
  • B.A., English Literature, Wheaton College


Draper, Scott.  2019.  Religious Interaction Ritual: The Microsociology of the Spirit.  Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Spencer, Anne Cottrell and Scott Draper.  2018.  “Introducing the Sort-Of Buddhist; or, ‘If There is No “I” To Have a Religious Identity Then How Do I Fill Out This Survey?’”  Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 14(3).
Draper, Scott.  2017.  “The Preeminent Sacred Symbol: Theorizing Image of God Outcomes.”  Sociology Compass 11(10).
Draper, Scott, Paul Froese, and Buster Smith.  2014.  “Religious Pluralism and the Individual:  The Effects and Meaning of Inter-Religious Contact.”  Journal of Social Science Studies 2(1): 234-249.
Draper, Scott.  2014.  “Effervescence and Solidarity in Religious Organizations.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 53(2): 229-248.
Stroope, Sam, Scott Draper, and Andrew Whitehead.  2012.  “Images of a Loving God and Sense of Meaning in Life.”  Social Indicators Research.
Sherman, Martha and Scott Draper.  2012.  “What Will the Neighbors Think? The Effect of Moral Communities on Cohabitation.”  Review of Religious Research.
Draper, Scott and Joseph Baker.  2011.  “Angelic Belief as American Folk Religion.”  Sociological Forum.
Draper, Scott and Jerry Z. Park.  2010.  “Sunday Celluloid:  Visual Media and Protestant Boundaries with Secular Culture.”  Sociological Spectrum.
Baker, Joseph and Scott Draper.  2010.  “Diverse Supernatural Portfolios:  Certitude, Exclusivity, and the Curvilinear Relationship Between Religiosity and Paranormal Beliefs.”  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Park, Jerry Z. and Scott Draper.  2008.  “The Da Vinci Code Effect.”  In What Americans Really Believe, edited by Rodney Stark.  Waco:  BaylorUniversity Press.