About Me

Training & Education

Training & Education

2020 –
NIH-NICHD Postdoctoral Fellow in Social Environments and Population Health
Population Research Institute
Pennsylvania State University

2014
Ph.D., Rural Sociology
Presidential Fellow
Ohio State University

2008
Master of Urban and Regional Planning
Virginia Commonwealth University

2006
B.S., Geographic Science
Concentrations: Environment / Asian Geography
Minors: Urban & Regional Studies / Music
James Madison University

Research Interests

My primary interest is in the complex social dimensions of non-mainstream peoples, including the Plain Anabaptists such as Amish and Mennonites.

What fascinates me is how populations self-identifying as non-mainstream reveal the social tenuousness of all societies. The routine behaviors of non-mainstream individuals both disrupt the normalcy of an imagined “mainstream” society while dialectically obstructing their own ability to ever obtain imagined peoplehood purity.

Following this thinking, I have two research aims: (1) facilitating understanding across differences by articulating social complexities, and (2) re-centering marginalized voices through collaborative research with non-mainstream populations.

Explore this research on the Projects page or at one of the following websites:

Teaching

Pedagogical Philosophy

Animating concepts through vivid narratives

I keep students actively engaged through dynamic lecturing, role-playing activities, and collaborative projects. I sustain attention while ensuring comprehension through tactics such as comprehension checks woven into animated lectures. My courses also nurture critical thinking via skills-building projects where students conduct original research on issues meaningful in their communities.

Curriculum

From critical foundations to signature explorations

I have taught a diverse curriculum spanning sociology, interdisciplinary studies, and geography. My specialty seminars on non-mainstream cultures have drawn strong interdisciplinary enrollment, while offerings such as Technology & Society and Comparative Perspectives on Dress exemplify my ability to develop engaging explorations beyond standard curriculum. 

Complementing these niche topics, I have led foundational courses including both small and large sections of Introduction to Sociology, Demography, Geographic Information Systems, Sociology of Religion, and Rural Sociology. Such broad instructional experience demonstrates versatility valuable to schools wanting to enrich their course offerings while still satisfying core curriculum requirements.

Student Experiences

Motivating original research with immersive field engagements.

Students map theories onto real-world questions, then practice diverse investigative techniques, connecting concepts to community needs. I scout for collaborative projects where students co-produce original research and engage in public scholarship. My courses also integrate participatory field experiences. In my Amish Culture seminar, over 50% of students have attended more than the minimum required field trips, opting for deeper exposure to these cultures. Student researchers in my Comparative Perspectives of Dress course compile diverse ethnographic observations from surrounding communities, collectively analyzing findings.

Mentorship

Supporting student scholars across all backgrounds

I have not only mentored well-equipped traditional students but also many non-traditional and first-generation students, who have gone on to produce conference presentations and peer-reviewed publications. Their scholarship addresses issues such as contested cases of religious free exercise, attitudes toward marginalized groups, and health access disparities. These real-world impacts enhance career readiness as students carry training into sectors such as healthcare, public services, and media.

Public Engagement

Public Scholarship

As co-founder and editor of the Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies, I oversee an inclusive publication advancing theoretical and applied research, facilitating debate, and providing opportunities for marginalized voices. A large diverse team reviews submissions based on scholarly rigor while also providing extended support for less experienced researchers and plain people submitting high-potential work.

Directing the Amish & Plain Anabaptist Studies Association since 2019, I help facilitate monthly guest speaker webinars, an annual two-day conference, and web resources connecting academics, service providers, and plain people. These platforms help disseminate cultural insights to sensitize public services, inform policy issues such as religious free exercise disputes, and advance theoretical discussions.

Community Education

As an experienced, engaging guest speaker to campuses and civic groups, I strive to illuminate intricacies of plain Anabaptist life – healthcare, legal, and educational dynamics – aiming to sensitively improve public grasp of these distinct populations. My tailored presentations bridge gaps for audiences ranging from students and scholars to legal teams and healthcare workers and even communities new to plain populations.

Personal Interests

I enjoy clearing my mind by exploring new places, including ethnic neighborhoods and parks.

I also enjoy richly orchestrated classical music, with a particular desire to promote two 20th century Swedish composers.

First, Kurt Atterberg thickly colors perfectly engineered, rocketing climaxes across appealing scenarios: from the complex emotions of a funeral (Symphony #5), to 24 hours along a rocky northern shoreline (#3), to a parody of a Schubert masterwork so well-natured that the parody is its own masterwork (#6).

Second, Allan Pettersson articulated nearly 20 massive symphonies and concertos, most without pause (that implied breaks even exist between each work seems but a matter of logistics). Pettersson demonstrate how suffering through dystopias is not without a deeply personal ability to identify and reflect on—even if not solve—inhumanity. Jump in at the sixth symphony for starters and go chronologically from there.

© 2024 • Cory Anderson • All Rights Reserved