William Dinges, Ph.D.
Ordinary Professor of Religion and Culture
Area Director, Religion and Culture
Religion in America (Catholicism in particular), religious movements, religion and social change, fundamentalism, and religion and ecology
I am an Ordinary Professor of Religious Studies in the School of Theology and Religious Studies and a fellow of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America. I received my Ph.D. in American Studies in 1983 from the University of Kansas. I have been on the faculty at Catholic University for the past thirty-one years.
My research interests include a variety of religion and culture topics: Religion in America (Catholicism in particular), religious movements, religion and globalization, fundamentalism, and religion and ecology. I have published articles on these and related topics in Sociological Analysis, U.S. Catholic Historian, Journal of Contemporary Religion, Religion and American Culture, The Way, The Living Light, America, Commonweal, and in other scholarly and popular journals and anthologies. I have a long-standing interest in Catholic traditionalism and was a contributor on the topic to the 'Fundamentalist Project' of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
I completed a study in 2010 (“National and Regional Hispanic Catholic Ministry Organizational Initiatives: An Assessment” ) for the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In 2003 I completed a year-long ethnographic study of ten Home Missions Dioceses in the United States for the Committee on the Home Missions of the USCCB. Prior to these projects, I co-authored a book with Profs. Dean Hoge, Mary Johnson, S.N.D. de N., and Juan Gonzales, Jr., on Young Adult Catholics: Religion in the Culture of Choice (University of Notre Dame Press, 2001).
I am currently completing a book on the cultural construction of the sacred in the Latin Tridentine Mass. This work examines issues of identity, ritual change and social conflict among American Catholics in relationship to the Second Vatican Council's transformation of the liturgy.
In addition to my research/teaching/professional activities, I have given numerous lectures over the last sixteen years on the role of religion in American culture to foreign delegations participating in the U.S. State Department International Visitors Program.
I have also lectured on the role of religion in American culture at the Katholisch-Theologische Privatuniversitat, Linz, Austria; Institut fur Politik und Verwaltungswissenshaften, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany; U.S. Consulate, Hamburg, Germany; Europaisches Forum Alpbach, Alpbach, Austria; and most recently in the Program on Religion in American Culture for the Institute on American Society and Culture (IASC) at the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
I am deeply engaged in a variety of environmental initiatives in multiple settings both inside and outside the university.