Michael Rotolo is a Ph.D. candidate and University Presidential Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Notre Dame. His research focuses on morality, values, religion, culture, politics, aspirations, and cognition, especially among young Americans and in the context of families.
His 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, beliefs, and anxieties regarding religious transmission through hundreds of in-depth interviews that span religious traditions, social classes, and family types all around the country.
Michael’s dissertation, "Seeking the Good Life: The Moral Development of Young People in America," examines how Americans develop their moral worldviews, drawing primarily on interview data with young people collected over the course of 10 years from adolescence to young adulthood. From these interviews, he theorizes a scheme of moral orientations and uses it to illuminate the content and development of young Americans' religious views, political views, and conceptions of "the good life."
Michael is a lead researcher for the national Intergenerational Religious Transmission Project (IRTP) and a research assistant for the Global Religion Research Initiative (GRRI). He is the Project Director of the Engaging Young Adults Initiative, a Lilly-funded project conducted in collaboration with Sunnyside Presbyterian Church. He is part of Notre Dame's Leadership Advancing Socially Engaged Research (LASER) 2019-2020 cohort. He also works extensively with data from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR).
He 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.