Secular Studies

Between 12% and 21% of Americans are atheist or agnostic – the highest rates of non-belief ever seen in U.S. history. Secular-ism is on the rise, and understanding the trend enables us to better understand what is going on in American society, politics, and culture. Moreover, studying secularism can also teach us about religiosity. As secularism is almost always in reaction to or in dialogue with the religious, in studying those who are secular we can learn much, from a new angle, about the religion they are rejecting.

The Secular Studies series is meant to provide a home for works emerging from the increase in scholarly interest in secular studies. Rooted in a social science perspective, it will explore and illuminate various aspects of secular life, ranging from how and why formerly religious people give up their religions to how secular people conceptualize their identities.

Forthcoming titles:

Joel Thiessen and Sarah Wilkins-Laflamme compare the experience of secularism in the United States and in Canada

Nathan Alexander examines how atheists and freethinkers in the second half of the nineteenth century thought about issues of racial and civilizational superiority in the United States and Britain.


Phil Zuckerman
Professor of Sociology, Pitzer College


Submissions should take the form of a 3–5 page proposal outlining the intent and scope of the project, its merits in comparison to existing texts, and the audience it is designed to reach. You should also include: a detailed Table of Contents, 2-3 sample chapters or articles, and a current copy of your curriculum vitae.

Please direct submissions and queries simultaneously to Jennifer Hammer, Senior Editor at NYU Press, and Series Editor Phil Zuckerman, if you are interested in submitting a proposal.