James C. Cavendish

Associate Professor


Office: CPR 215
Phone: (813) 974-2893
Fax: (813) 974-6455


James C. Cavendish (Ph.D., 1997, University of Notre Dame) is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of South Florida. His research, which has been published in journals including Social Problems, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Sociology of Religion, Review of Religious Research, Social Psychology Quarterly, Social Science Quarterly, and American Catholic Studies examines a variety of topics at the intersection of religion, community, and social change. He has examined, for instance, the influence of Christian base communities on democratization in Latin America, conflicts over women’s ordination within U.S. denominations, church-based community activism among U.S. congregations, the role of religious congregations in the lives of new immigrant communities, and the influence of contextual factors on the rise of hate crimes against Muslims after 9/11. Jim also completed a comprehensive study, commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, of the U.S. Catholic Church’s efforts to address racism in the Church and society. Jim is currently working on two projects: one that examines the various organizational factors that have led religiously affiliated colleges and universities to accept LGBT student groups and include sexual orientation and gender identity in their non-discrimination clauses; and another that examines the role of religious congregations and organizations in environmental initiatives, particularly in urban food sovereignty and community gardening. He served as chair of the Department of Sociology at USF from 2016-2020, and his professional service has included serving as: President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (2019-2021); Executive Officer of the Association for the Sociology of Religion (2012-2016); Editorial Board Member for the journals Sociology of Religion, Review of Religious Research, and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion; and Program Chair and Treasurer for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Jim also serves local faith-based communities as a member of the Racial Justice Committee of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg and as a board member of the Franciscan Retreat Center.


Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 1997