Michael Rotolo is a Ph.D. Candidate and University Presidential Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Notre Dame. His research examines the origins, development, and outcomes of different moral views, including values, social and political views, religious beliefs, future aspirations, and notions of "the good life." His current work focuses on American adolescents, young adults, and families. His research also examines the influences of culture, cognition, and emotion.
Michael's first book, Religious Parenting: Transmitting Faith and Values in Contemporary America (Princeton University Press 2020), coauthored with Christian Smith and Bridget Ritz, explores American parents’ strategies, experiences, and beliefs regarding religious transmission to their children through hundreds of in-depth interviews that span religious traditions, social classes, and family types.
His dissertation, "Seeking the Good Life: The Moral Development of Young People in America," examines how Americans develop their moral views, drawing primarily on interview data with young people collected over the course of 10 years from adolescence to young adulthood. From these interviews and a synthesis of prior work on morality, he theorizes a scheme of moral orientations and uses it to illuminate the content and development of young Americans' religious views, political views, career aspirations, and conceptions of "the good life."
Michael holds an M.A. in Sociology from Notre Dame, an M.Div from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is also a graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.