Carl Desportes Bowman

Carl Desportes Bowman Director of Survey Research

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For twenty years, Carl Desportes Bowman has directed social surveys of American public culture, among them the Institute’s surveys on The State of Disunion, The Politics of Character, and Difference and Democracy. He also directed two benchmark national surveys of cultural trends within the Church of the Brethren. Prior to becoming a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, he was for many years a Professor of Sociology at Bridgewater College and has worked as a a Senior Statistical Software Consultant with Cranes International, Bangalore, India.

Recognized as a leading cultural historian of the Brethren, an Anabaptist-related group, Bowman’s scholarship has resulted in Brethren Society: The Cultural Transformation of a “Peculiar People” (Johns Hopkins), Portrait of a People: The Church of the Brethren at 300 (Brethren Press), and numerous articles and reviews. Additionally, he is co-author of On the Backroad to Heaven: Old Order Hutterites, Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren (Johns Hopkins).

Broadly speaking, Bowman’s work explores the cultural dynamics of religious minorities as they navigate the tensions and challenges posed by the broader culture. His current project focuses upon the cultural transformation of the Brethren since the mid-twentieth century.

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The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture is an interdisciplinary research center and intellectual community at the University of Virginia committed to understanding contemporary cultural change and its individual and social consequences, training young scholars, and providing intellectual leadership in service to the public good.

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