Hello and welcome to my website!
I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University where I am also a Fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion and affiliated with the Program in Judaic Studies. My areas of study include the sociology of culture, inequality, military sociology, history of social thought, and mixed methodology. My research is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Program (NSF GRPF), National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Award (NSF DDRIG), the Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, the Princeton Center for the Study of Religion, the Princeton Center for African American Studies, the Princeton Program in Canadian Studies, and the Center for Digital Humanities. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 2013, with Honors in sociology and a minor in anthropology. After college, I was a Dorot Fellow in Israel where I researched the immersion experience of newly orthodox women. I also spent the two years between undergraduate and graduate school studying Hebrew texts at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and Yeshivat Hadar.
My dissertation investigates how the United States Military transforms civilians into soldiers. I am interested how incoming recruits, whose civilian identities are constrained by the regimented institutional context, re-fashion personal self-definitions. How do they experience trading in their unique clothes for uniforms, their preferred food for mess halls meals, and individualized routines for rigid schedules? How does the command address questions of alignment and conflict regarding identity? Under what circumstances is agreement between opposing identities achieved, negotiated or unresolved? Although all incoming recruits face these questions, my study shines light on how experiences vary along ethnic, gender, and religious lines.
My past work has explored how religious organizations employ more embodied, and not verbal, techniques in their religious recruitment and practice.
Outside of my academic work, I work closely with organizations to develop policies that foster diversity and inclusion. I also lead workshops for faculty and staff.
In my volunteer communal work, I am a spiritual care intern with experience in corrections and health care environments. I am the founder and board president of RUACH: Emotional and Spiritual Support, a volunteer initiative made up of a network of therapists, social workers, clergy, chaplains, and providers-in-training offering free support during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
Feel free to contact me at taylorpw [at] princeton [dot] edu