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Laura Leming

Associate Professor

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


Email: Laura Leming
Phone: 937-229-2138


  • Ph.D., Boston College
  • M.A., Religious Studies, University of Dayton


Sr. Laura Leming is an Associate Professor of Sociology. She received her Ph.D. from Boston College. She joined the faculty in 1999. Her areas of special interest are sociology of religion, women in religion and social psychology. Laura served as chair of the department from 2010-14.

Faculty perspective

"I was thrilled to return to UD as a sociologist of religion after spending 13 years here as a campus minister prior to doing doctoral studies at Boston College. As a Marianist Sister, my priority is to contribute to Marianist higher education. The "community of scholars" that I encourage my students to be part of in every class I teach is an educational ideal that resonates well with our Marianist heritage of creating transformative communities. I have also had the great fortune of teaching the social science curriculum at UD's site in Bangalore, India, where we offer a degree program for the young Indian Marianist Brothers."

Research interests

Sr. Laura's dissertation work focused on the "religious agency" that Roman Catholic women use to stay involved in a church that they sometimes find patriarchal and hierarchical in a way that can be disempowering for women. She has continued to explore this concept in other contexts, both here in U.S. religious groups, and in the developing world context, in India. In the U.S., she has tracked the development of a Catholic pro-change group, explored how parents and families work at "passing on the faith" in the context of religious camps and programs, and looks at how Mormon feminist women negotiate their religious identities. When in India, Dr. Leming continues work she began in May and June of 2002 among Catholic and Christian Indian women, as they negotiate their religious identity in the context of being a religious minority.

Selected publications

"Women, Religious Agency and the Politics of Vocation," in Vocation and Social Context, edited by Giuseppe Giordan.  Boston, MA: Brill, 2007.

"Protecting Children on the Margins: Social Justice and Community Building,"  with Bro. Raymond Fitz. In Children's Human Rights, edited by Mark Ensalaco and Linda C. Majka, Lanham, MD:  Rowman and Littlefield, 2005.

"The Millennial Generation on Catholic Campuses: Changes and Challenges in Ethnicity, Social Status, Spirituality and Gender." In A Handbook on Catholic Higher Education, edited by Thomas Hunt & Ronald Nuzzi. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003.