Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Sherkat, Darren


AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OFKristie Perry for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sociology, presented on April 08, 2020, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.TITLE: AFRICAN AMERICAN DENOMINATIONAL MOBILITY: THE IMPACT OF STATUS, FAMILIAL FACTORS, AND GENDER MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Darren E. SherkatReligion has been an important institution for African Americans, and for much of history was the only institution they controlled, making it a central part of African American life. African American families have relied on the church as an important source of social, economic, and familial support. Lincoln and Mamiya (1990) maintained that the black church reflected concerns of a generation less interested in assimilation which was later defined as the “black sacred cosmos”. In contrast, Frazier (1964) believed the post-Civil War Black Church furthered the process of acculturation within the larger structure and promoted social mobility. Frazier predicted status differences would eventually lead to variations in religious preferences with upper classes gravitating toward more worldly religious goods. Little is known about how gender differences and ethnicity influence religious mobility identification and participation. This dissertation examined trends, patterns, and predictors of denominational mobility, by demographic, gender, cohort, and geography. This study also juxtaposed Lincoln and Mamiya’s Black Sacred Cosmos with Frazier and Glenn’s status basis of denominationalism. Using the 1972-2018 General Social Survey (GSS) dataset, the research assed patterns of mobility across birth cohorts and gender-based influences on denominational mobility. Findings suggest that for African American women the Black Sacred Cosmo may remain.




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