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Ziad Munson, Professor of Sociology at Lehigh University

Ziad Munson


Department Chair

0031 - Williams Hall

BA: The University of Chicago (1993)

MA: Harvard University (1996)

PhD: Harvard University (2002)

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Research Areas

Additional Interests

  • Social Movements
  • Abortion Politics
  • Conservative Movements
  • Political Sociology
  • The Sociology of Religion

Research Statement

Dr. Munson’s research focuses on understanding the dynamics of social movements, particularly those with strong religious or politically conservative dimensions.  One strand of his research program examines the role of the abortion issue in American politics.  I’m particularly interested in the history of the debate over abortion, the constituencies for this debate, the role of the pro-life and pro-choice movements in party politics, and the ways in which all of these factors have led to dramatic changes in public understanding of abortion over more than a century of conflict.  His book Abortion Politics (Polity, 2018) provides an overview of the abortion debate, as well as arguing that the meaning of abortion has shifted many times to incorporate changing social anxieties of Americans.  Another research strand focuses on understanding how some individuals become mobilized into social movements while others do not.  His book The Making of Pro-Life Activists: How Social Movement Mobilization Works (Chicago, 2008) examines this question using life-history interview and ethnographic data on the pro-life movement.  He has developed a model of individual social movement mobilization based on this research that may be generalizable to many different social movements. Most recently, Dr. Munson has focused his attention on the rise of Trumpism in America’s suburbs as a populist social movement.  Interviews with suburban voters on this and related windows offers a window into the larger, global rise of populism in recent years that remains poorly understood. It also serves as a corrective to the undue attention given to rural, white, undereducated supporters of Trumpism.

Dr. Munson has also worked on a variety of other research include conservative organizing on college campuses, civic engagement, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, international terrorism, pregnancy resource centers, and the homeschooling movement.


Ziad Munson was born and raised in Duluth, MN and currently lives in Emmaus, PA with his wife and teenage son.  He also has an adult daughter.  Munson enjoys soccer, cycling, hiking, cooking (and eating!).  He is also an avid board game player.


2018 Abortion Politics.  London: Polity Press.

2009 The Making of Pro-Life Activists: How Social Movement Mobilization Works.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


2019 “Religion and Protest in the Pro-Life Movement,” Oxford Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion, Djupe, Paul and Gizem Arikan, eds.  New York: Oxford University Press.

2013 “Religion, Crisis Pregnancies, and the Battle over Abortion: Redefining Conflict and Consensus in the American Pro-Life Movement,” pp.37-54 in Religion in Disputes, von Benda-Beckmann, Franz et. al. New York: Palgrave.

2013 “Making Sense of History,” in The Practice of Research: How Scientists Answer Their Questions, Dana Fisher and Shamus Khan, eds.  New York: Oxford University Press.

2010 “Mobilizing on Campus: Conservative Movements and Today's College Students.”  Sociological Forum 25(4):769-786.

2008 “Keyword: Terrorism,” Contexts 7(4:Fall):74-75

2007 “When a Funeral Isn’t Just a Funeral: The Layered Meaning of Everyday Action.” Pp.121-136 in Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives, Nancy T. Ammerman, ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

2005 “God, Abortion, and Democracy in the Pro-Life Movement,” pp.277-300 in Taking Faith Seriously, Bane, Mary Jo, Brent Coffin and Richard Higgins, eds.  Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

2002 “Patriotic Partnerships: Why Great Wars Nourished American Civic Voluntarism,” by  Theda Skocpol, Ziad Munson, Andrew Karch, and Bayliss Camp, pp.134-180 in Shaped by War and Trade: International Influences on American Political Development, Ira Katznelson and Martin Shefter, eds.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

2002 Introduction to World Religions by Kenneth Atkinson; Ziad Munson, content editor.  Indianapolis, IN: The College Network.

2001 “Islamic Mobilization: Social Movement Theory and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,” The Sociological Quarterly 42(4: Fall): 487-510.

2000 “A Nation of Organizers: The Institutional Origins of Civic Volunteerism in the United States,” by Theda Skocpol, Marshall Ganz, and Ziad Munson, American Political Science Review 94(3): 527-546.

1999 “How Americans Became Civic,” by Theda Skocpol with Marshall Ganz, Ziad Munson, Bayliss Camp, Michele Swers, and Jennifer Oser, pp. 27-80 in Civic Engagement in American Democracy, Morris Fiorina and Theda Skocpol, eds.  New York: The Brookings Institute.

1998 “Assessing the New Political Culture by Comparing Cities Around the World,” by Terry Nichols Clark with Jerzy Bartkowski, Zhiyue Bo, Lincoln Quillian, Doug Huffer, Ziad Munson, Eric Fong, Yun-Ji-Qian, Mark Gromala, Michael Rempel, and Dennis Merritt, in The New Political Culture, Terry Nichols Clark and Vincent Hoffmann-Martinot, eds. New York: Westview Press.


2021 Book review of “Birth Control Battles: How Race and Class Divided American Religion,” by Melissa J. Wilde (University of California Press, 2019). Contemporary Sociology 50(4):352-353.

2019 Book review of “The Rise and Fall of Moral Conflicts in the United States and Canada,” by Mildren A. Schwartz and Raymond Tatalovich (University of Toronto Press, 2018).  American Journal of Sociology.

2016 Book review of “Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement before Roe v. Wade,” by Daniel K. Williams (Oxford University Press, 2015). American Historical Review 121(5):12684-1685.

2015 Book review of “Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America,” by Deana Rohlinger (Cambridge University Press). Mobilization 20(3): 401-403.

2014 Book review of “Democracy in the Making: How Activist Groups Form,” by Kathleen M. Blee (Oxford University Press).  American Journal of Sociology 120(2):609-611.

2014 Book review of “Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives,” by Amy J. Binder and Kate Wood (Princeton University Press).  Contemporary Sociology 43(5):630-632..

2013 Book review of “Claiming Society for God: Religious Movements & Social Welfare,” by Nancy J. Davis and Robert V. Robinson (Indiana University Press).  Social Forces doi10.1093/sf/sot105.

2013 Book review of “Are Muslims Distinctive?  A Look at the Evidence,” by Steven M. Fish (Oxford University Press).  Contemporary Sociology 42(1, January):80-81.

2009 Book review of  "The Democratic Virtue of the Christian Right,” by Jon A. Shields.  (Princeton University Press).  Perspective on Politics 7(3):673-675.

2009 Book review of “Organizations at War: In Afghanistan and Beyond,” by Abdulkader Sinno (Cornell University Press).  African & Asian Studies Journal 6:192-194.

2008 Book review of “A New Engagement?  Political Participation, Civic Life, and the Changing American Citizen”, by Cliff Zukin, Scott Keeter, Molly Andolina, Krista Jenkins, and Michael X. Delli Carpini.  Social Forces 86(3, March).

2005 Book review of “The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.”  Contexts 4(2):60-62.

2004 Book review of “Stories, Identities, and Political Change,” by Charles Tilly.  Critical Mass Bulletin 29(2, Fall): 6-7.

2004 Book review of “Faith in Action: Religion, Race and Democratic Organizing in America,” by Richard Wood. Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest 3(2, October): 262-263.

2003 Book review of “Freedom Unfinished: Fundamentalism and Popular Resistance in Bangladesh Today,” by Jeremy Seabrook.  Social Movement Studies 2(2, October): 241-242.

2003 Book review of “Jordanian Exceptionalism: A Comparative Analysis of State-Religion Relationships in Egypt, Iran, Jordan, and Syria,” by Mansoor Moaddel. Contemporary Sociology 32(4), July.

2002 Book review of “Promise Keepers and the New Masculinity: Private Lives and Public Morality,” edited by Rhys H. Williams.  The Sociology of Religion 63(3), Fall 2002.


2013 “State of the Lehigh Valley,” with Christopher P. Borick, Michele Moser Deegan, Jackie Hanzok, Scott Hoke, Judith Lasker , Arlene Peltola, Eike Reichardt, and Christopher S. Ruebeck.  Lehigh Valley Research Consortium. (reports also published in 2008, 2009, 2010)

2006 “Survey of Public Attitudes Toward Electronic Voting in Pennsylvania,” by Christopher Borick, Ziad Munson, and Daniel Lopresti.  Lehigh University / Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion, October 3, 2006, Department of Computer Science and Engineering Technical Report LU-CSE-06-35.


2019 Lehigh University Faculty Research Grant (also received in 2003, 2006, 2010)

2018 Dean’s Associate Professor Advancement Fellowship (Lehigh)

2017 Mellon Digital Humanities Initiative (Lehigh) Community Partnership Grant

2015 Lehigh University Online Course Development Grant 

2012 Lehigh University Curriculum Innovation Grant

2011 Lehigh University Faculty Innovation Grant

2011 Lehigh University Center for Global Islamic Studies Grant (also received in 2010)

2008-2005 Lehigh University Paul J. Franz, Jr. and Class of 1968 Junior Faculty Fellowships

2007 National Science Foundation Cyber Trust Grant, with co-PIs Daniel Lopresti (Lehigh), Christopher Borick (Muhlenberg), George Nagy (RPI), and Elisa Barney Smith (Boise State).

2006 Seed grants for Social Science Data Center, Lehigh University College of Arts and Sciences and Office of Sponsored Research

2000-2001 National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant

1999-2001 Doctoral Fellow, Hauser Center for the Study of Non-Profit Organizations

1999 DeWolfe Howe Fund for the Study of Civil Liberties

1995-96 Social Science Research Council International Pre-Dissertation Fellowship

1995 Foreign Language and Area Studies Grant  (U.S. Department of Education)


2017 “Social Movements in Schools: Confronting Controversy around LGBTQIA Rights in Public Education,” keynote address at the Creating Safe and Supportive Schools for LGBTQIA Youth conference, Lehigh University, February 4.

2016 “New Conflicts in Old Wineskins: The Changing Meaning of Abortion,” Social Science History Association Annual Conference, Chicago IL, November 20.

2016 “Lessons for Reproductive Rights and Women's Economic Advancement,” Scholars Strategy Network Reproductive Rights Workshop, Ms. Foundation, May 31.

2014 “Taking Radicalization Out of the Study of Political Violence: The Overstated Role of Religious Extremism in Terrorist Attacks,” presented at the annual conference of the Society for the Scientific study of religion, November 3.

2013 Invited Address. “The Origins of Radicalization,” Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, December 3.

2013 “Outside Agitators and the Historical Development of Terrorism,” paper presented at the annual conference of the Social Science History Association, Chicago IL, November 22.

2013 “Looking for Islam: Religion & Popular Mobilization in the Muslim World,” paper presented at the Islam, Mobilization and Social Change conference, George Mason University, October 24th.

2013 “Who’s Drinking at the Party?  Tea Party Impacts on Republican Ideology,” co-authored with Amanda Midkiff and presented at the annual conference of the Eastern Sociological Society, Boston MA, March 23.

2012 Invited Address.  “The Role of Expatriate Communities in the Organizational Dynamics of Political Violence: A Preliminary Model,” Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security, Government of Canada, Ottowa, December 2.

2012 “Claiming Society for God: A Critical Review,” presented at the annual conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Phoenix AZ, November 19.

2012 “The Great Red Herring: How al-Qaida Blinds Us to Terrorism,” lecture given at the University of Toronto Department of Sociology, February 1.

2011 “Organizing Terrorism: Group Formation and the Development of Terrorist Tactics,” paper presented at the annual conference of the American Sociological Association, Las Vegas NV, August 20.

2011 “The Fetish of Ideology in the Study of Terrorism,” paper presented at the University of Paris, Sorbonne workshop on Violence, Terror, and Radicalism, June 3.

2011 “The Muslim Brotherhood and the Historical Evolution of Egypt,” lecture given at the University of California, Berkeley Department of Sociology Colloquium, April 4.

2011 “Republican Insurgency Before the Tea Party: Abortion and the Rise of American Conservatism,” paper presented at the annual conference of the Eastern Sociological Society, Philadelphia PA, February 26.

2010 “Abortion and the Remaking of Conservative Politics,” paper presented at the annual conference of the Social Science History Association, Chicago IL, November 18.

2010 “Religion, Crisis Pregnancies, and the Battle Over Abortion,” paper presented at the Max Planck Institute conference on Religion in Disputes, Halle, Germany, October 29.

2010 Invited Keynote Address. “Conservatism and Social Change,” Pennsylvania Sociological Society annual meeting, Mansfield University, October 23.

2010 “Organizing Political Violence: Strategy, Ideology, and the Development of Terrorist Groups,” paper presented at the meetings of the International Sociological Association, Gothenburg, Sweden, July 14.

2010 “Bigger Fish to Fry: Rethinking High-Risk Activism in the Pro-Life Movement,” paper presented at the annual meetings of the Eastern Sociological Society, Boston MA, March 21.

2009 “Mobilizing Activists in the United States: Some Lessons from Social Movement Theory and Research” Aspen Institute and Fetzer Institute workshop on Individual and Community Transformation, December 9.

2009 “Crisis Pregnancy Centers and Coming Changes to the Battle Over Abortion,” paper presented at the annual conference of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, October 23.

2009 “What Makes Pro-Lifers Tick: Understanding Mobilization Against Legalized Abortion,” University of Pittsburgh, October 2.

2009 “Becoming Conservative: The Causes & Consequences of the Pro-Life Alliance with the Republican Party,” paper presented at the annual conference of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco CA, August 11.

2008 Invited Address. “Lost Dreams and Lost Kites: The United States and the New Islam in Afghanistan,” Ashland University, Ashland OH, April 24.

2008 “Abortion Politics and the Transformation of the American Pro-life Movement,” paper presented at the annual conference of the Midwest Sociological Association, St. Louis MO, March 27.

2007 “Funerals, Congregations, and Politics: The Polysemy of Religious Events in Everyday Life,” paper presented at the annual conference of the American Academy of Religion, San Diego CA, November 18.

2007 “Mobilizing on Campus: Conservative Movements and Today’s College Students,” paper presented at the Collective Behavior and Social Movements Conference, Hofstra University, August 10. 

2007 “The Perceived Efficacy of Airport Security Screening Rituals,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association, Oakland CA, March 29.

2007 “Educating for the Lord: Homeschooling and the Transformation of American Religion,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the Eastern Sociological Association, Philadelphia PA, March 17.

2007 Invited Address. “The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt,” The Social Dynamics of Activism workshop sponsored by the Dept. of Homeland Security, Ypsilanti MI, March 12-13.

2006 Invited Address. “The Five Myths of Terrorism,” New York University, October 5.

2005 Invited Address. “Saving Babies on Campus: The Role of Students in the Pro-Life Movement,” The Role of Youths and Universities in Mobilizing Social Movements lecture series, University of Maryland, April 12.

2004 Invited Lecture. “Funerals and Presidents: Religion in Everyday Life,” Religion and Public Life Workshop, Princeton University, October 13.

2004 Invited Address. “Understanding Islamic Activism in the Middle East,” 24th Dunwoody Symposium Confluence of Cultures: Understanding the Middle East, Georgia Perimeter College (Dunwoody GA), March 31.

2003 “Joining for What?  The Biographical Roots of Associationalism,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the Social Science History Association, Baltimore MD, November 23.

2003 Invited Lecture. “'My Life is My Argument': Reconceptualizing Religion in Understanding Social Activism,” presentation to the Religion, Political Economy, and Society seminar (Department of Economics and Department of Government), Harvard University, October 22.

2002 Invited Lecture.  “Becoming an Activist in the American Pro-Life Movement,” presentation to the Comparative Politics Workshop, Department of Political Science, University of Chicago, May 3.


Elective Courses:
Social Movements (SOC/AAS313)
Calling Bullshit (SOC109): See for details
The Social Origins of Terrorism (SOC/GS105): See for details
The Christian Right in America (SOC/REL375): See for details
Lasers, Aliens & Black Holes: Studying Society Through Science Fiction (SOC090): See for details
Political Sociology (SOC104/POLS104): See for details
The Politics of Morality in America (SOC090)
Religion and Society (SOC/REL171/REL171)

Required Courses:
Introduction to Sociology (SOC001): See for details
The Development of Social Theory (SOC381)
Qualitative Methods