USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

Richard Flory (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is senior director of research and evaluation at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture. He is a sociologist whose research focuses on religious and cultural change, religion and urban life, and the religious and spiritual lives of youth and young adults. His current research focuses on religious innovation and change.

He has published several books, including most recently, Back Pocket God: Religion and Spirituality in the Lives of Emerging Adults (Oxford University Press, 2020), The Rise of Network Christianity: How Independent Leaders are Changing the Religious Landscape (Oxford University Press, 2017), and a forthcoming edited volume, Religion in Los Angeles: Religious Activism, Innovation, and Diversity in the Global City (Routledge, under contract). He is currently at work on two books on innovative religious organizations, The Dream Center: Reimagining Urban Ministry (with Hebah Farrag) and Reimagining Religion: Vibrant Faith in Unsettled Times (with Brie Loskota).

Professor Flory has been awarded more than $6.5 million for research and evaluation projects while at USC. Most recently, he was principal investigator for the Religious Competition and Creative Innovation project, a $2.6 million initiative funded by the John Templeton Foundation that investigated the links between religious competition, cooperation and innovation in Los Angeles and Seoul, South Korea. His research has been supported by grants from the John Templeton Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Lilly Endowment, the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation, and the Louisville Institute.

Flory has written for publications such as Religion Dispatches, The Conversation, Patheos and Zócalo Public Square, and has been quoted by a variety of publications, including the L.A. Times, the New York Times, Buzzfeed News and NPR.

Areas of Expertise

  • Religious and cultural change
  • Youth and young adults
  • Urban life
  • Civic Engagement
  • Faith-Based Organizations
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Richard Flory