Department of Sociology

Smilde, David

Associate Professor
115 Baldwin Hall
Athens, GA 30602
706-583-8071 • 

Dr. David Smilde, Associate Professor of Sociology, has been at the University of Georgia since 2001. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 2000. There are three common elements to all of Dr. Smilde's research. At an empirical level, he seeks to examine the way individuals and groups use culture to understand and gain agency over the difficult situations created by global restructuring. At a theoretical level, he is interested in the way cultural phenomena are conceptualized, especially as they are embedded in action. At a methodological level, he is interested in methods of analysis and modalities of presentation that can improve the validity and reliability of qualitative research. Key to this, in his view, are the potentials of software for qualitative data analysis. He is currently finishing a book on the conversion of men to Pentecostalism in Venezuela, and beginning a new project on religion and political conflict in Venezuela during the era of Hugo Chavez.


  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Chicago, 2000
  • M.A., Sociology, University of Chicago, 1994
  • B.A., Sociology and Philosophy, Minor in Spanish, Calvin Collee, 1989

Selected Honors, Awards, and Grants

  • 2010. Faculty Research Grant from the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts. Two course buyout to work on book on religion and politics in Venezuela.
  • 2009. Finalist, Clifford Geertz Book Award, Society for the Anthropology of Religion, American Anthropological Association (one of three finalists in a field of thirty-three nominations) for Reason to Believe: Cultural Agency in Latin American Evangelicalism. University of California Press, 2007.
  • 2008. Winner, Distinguished Book Award, Section on the Sociology of Religion, American Sociological Association for Reason to Believe: Cultural Agency in Latin American Evangelicalism. University of California Press, 2007.
  • 2008. Jack Shand Research Award, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion ($4,000).
  • 2006-07. Fulbright Scholar Program, Council for International Exchange of Scholars, Lecturing/Research Award, Universidad Central de Venezuela ($52,000).

Selected Publications

  • Smilde, David and Daniel Hellinger (eds). 2010. Venezuela’s Bolivarian Democracy: Participation, Politics and Culture under Chávez. Durham NC: Duke University Press (in press).
  • Smilde, David and Matthew May. 2010. “The Emerging Strong Program in the Sociology of Religion.” Social Science Research Council Working Papers. Social Science Research Council, New York, NY.
  • Smilde, David. 2008. “The Social Structure of Hugo Chávez,” Contexts Contexts, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 38–43.
  • Smilde, David. 2005. “A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Conversion to Venezuelan Evangelicalism: How Networks Matter.” American Journal of Sociology v111n3 (November).