Monmouth / Academics / Faculty Profile

Jonathan Coley

Academic Biography:
I am a sociologist whose research is focused on the agents of social change who are working to bring about a more just, equal, and sustainable world. Theoretically, my work has concentrated on the variety of pathways people follow into activism and the multiple ways people serve as activists (agents of social change) in their local communities. Substantively, I focus on progressive activism in conservative communities.

In line with this research agenda, my forthcoming book, Gay on God's Campus: Mobilizing for LGBT Equality at Christian Colleges and Universities, contributes an original typology of activists, activist groups, and "activisms." I identify three groups of participants in LGBT groups—politicized participants, religious participants, and LGBT participants; pinpoint differences in the LGBT activist groups to which they commit—direct action groups, educational groups, and solidarity groups; and demonstrate the various ways they embody activism in their lives—through continued social movement participation, humanistic careers, and intentional relationships. Similarly, my work on the Nashville civil rights movement (with Larry Isaac, Dan Cornfield, Dennis Dickerson, and James Lawson) explores the multiple ways that graduates of the Nashville civil rights movement diffused nonviolent praxis through political careers, humanistic occupations, and exemplary work.

My work has also examined artistic activism in the southern labor movement and environmental advocacy in conservative legislatures.

My research employs mixed methods and spans multiple subfields and disciplines. I am proud to work at a liberal arts college that values multi- and interdisciplinary inquiry.

Research Interests:
Social movements and social change, political sociology, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, religion, culture

Selected Research and/or Creative Work:

Coley, Jonathan S. 2018 (Forthcoming). Gay on God's Campus: Mobilizing for LGBT Equality at Christian Colleges and Universities. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.


Coley, Jonathan S. 2017. "Reconciling Religion and LGBT Rights: Christian Universities, Theological Orientations, and LGBT Inclusion." Social Currents 4(1): 87-106. (Online first in 2016.)

Isaac, Larry W., Jonathan S. Coley, Daniel B. Cornfield, and Dennis C. Dickerson. 2016. "Preparation Pathways and Movement Participation: Insurgent Schooling and Nonviolent Direct Action in the Nashville Civil Rights Movement." Mobilization 21(2): 155-176.

Coley, Jonathan S. 2015. "Narrative and Frame Alignment in Social Movements: Labor Problem Novels and the 1929 Gastonia Strike." Social Movement Studies 14(1): 58-74.

Hess, David J., Jonathan S. Coley, Quan D. Mai, and Lucas R. Hilliard. 2015. "Party Differences and Energy Reform: Fiscal Conservatism in the California Legislature." Environmental Politics 24(2): 228-248.

Coley, Jonathan S. 2014. "Social Movements and Bridge Building: Religious and Sexual Identity Conflicts." Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change 37(1): 125-151.

Hess, David J., and Jonathan S. Coley. 2014. "Wireless Smart Meters and Public Acceptance: The Environment, Limited Choices, and Precautionary Politics." Public Understanding of Science 23(6): 688-702.

Coley, Jonathan S. 2013. "Theorizing Issue Selection in Advocacy Organizations: An Analysis of Human Rights Activism around Darfur and the Congo, 1998-2010.” Sociological Perspectives 56(2): 191-212.

Isaac, Larry W., Daniel B. Cornfield, Dennis C. Dickerson, James M. Lawson Jr., and Jonathan S. Coley. 2012. “Movement Schools and Dialogical Diffusion of Nonviolent Praxis: Nashville Workshops in the Southern Civil Rights Movement.” Research in Social Movements, Conflicts, and Change 34(1): 155-184.

Coley, Jonathan S., and David J. Hess. 2012. "Green Energy Laws and Republican Legislators in the United States." Energy Policy 48(1): 576-583.


Hess, J. David, and Jonathan S. Coley. 2012. “State Government Votes for Green Energy Laws.” Pp. 213-218 in Good Green Jobs in a Global Economy: Making and Keeping New Industries in the United States. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.


Coley, Jonathan S. 2016. Review of Redeeming Time: Protestantism and Chicago’s Eight-Hour Movement, 1866-1912 by William A. Mirola. American Journal of Sociology 122(2): 546-656.

Coley, Jonathan S. 2016. Review of Reforming Sodom: Protestants and the Rise of Gay Rights by Heather R. White. Mobilizing Ideas (

Coley, Jonathan S. 2013. Review of Claiming Society for God: Religious Movements and Social Welfare by Nancy Davis and Robert V. Robinson. Mobilization 18(2): 223-224.

Coley, Jonathan S. 2013. Review of The Broken Table: The Detroit Newspaper Strike and the State of American Labor by Chris Rhomberg. Work and Occupations 40(1): 73-75.

Courses Taught:
SOCI 102 Social Problems
SOCI 251 Criminology
SOCI/RELG 288 Sociology of Religion
SOAN 302 Methods of Social Research
SOAN 310 Internship in Sociology/Anthropology
SOCI 355 Social Movements
INTG 401 Citizenship: Building Communities

Ph.D. in Sociology, Vanderbilt University, 2016
M.A. in Sociology, Vanderbilt University, 2013
B.A. in Political Science, Samford University, 2010

Contact Info:
Office: Rm 3 Wallace Hall