Anne Taylor

Anne Taylor's picture
B.A., History, Gordon College – Wenham, MA, 2010
BA., Sociology, University of Colorado – Boulder, 2016
M.A., Sociology, Yale University - 2019
Areas of Interest: 
Cultural Sociology; Social Theory; Religion; Media; Popular Culture
Performing Religion: Charisma, Enchantment, and the Sacred in a Post-Secular Age

Anne Taylor is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Yale University. Her work theorizes the blurring distinctions between religion and secular to argue for the expansion of analytic and methodological strategies for studying religion via popular culture. Her dissertation explores the concepts of charisma, enchantment, and the sacred across three case studies: football coach Deion ‘Coach Prime’ Sanders, guided group travel in Europe with travel writer Rick Steves, and a podcast that reads Harry Potter as a sacred text. In a paper forthcoming with Material Religion, she examines how American travel writer Rick Steves constructs Europe as sacred through performances of travel. And in a co-authored paper (under review), she examines how performances of civil religion at the January 6th insurrection and the 2022 CrossFit Games reveal the need for scholars to look to the seemingly secular spaces, like the gym, where white Christian nationalism is nurtured.

Taylor is a Junior Fellow at the Center for Cultural Sociology at Yale, and is committed to developing cultural sociological theory. Working in the cultural pragmatics tradition of social performance theory, her first paper, “Audience Agency in Social Performance,” published in Cultural Sociology (2022), develops a theory of audience agency via an illustration of Bernie Sanders’ political movement. This paper was awarded the SAGE Prize in Innovation and Excellence by the British Sociological Association in 2023.

Her second paper, “Harry Potter and the ‘Death of the Actor’: reimagining fusion in cultural pragmatics,” published in the American Journal of Cultural Sociology (2024), builds off of the first to theorize the specifics of how audiences relate back to actors in cultural pragmatics through a case study of a Harry Potter podcast community’s relationship to J.K. Rowling. 

Originally from Boulder, Colorado, Anne earned a BA in History from Gordon College in Massachusetts in 2010, where she focused on ancient religion, medieval art and spiritual-political intersections. She then went on to earn a second BA in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2016, where she graduated summa cum laude with distinction for her honors thesis, “A Shared Revelation: Charismatic Communities and the Puritan Experiment in Early New England,” which was advised by sociologist Isaac Reed. In 2017, she received an Honorable Mention from the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program, and since 2021 has been a Research Fellow at the Center for Media, Religion and Culture at the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to her academic work, Anne worked for Bernie 2016 and Apple, Inc as a group facilitator and in the summer of 2021, she worked as a qualitative research intern at Twitter.  


Taylor, Anne. Forthcoming. “‘Keep on Travelin’: Rick Steves’ Europe and the Cure for American Ethnocentricity,” Material Religion.

Taylor, Anne. 2024. “Harry Potter and the ‘Death of the Actor’: reimagining fusion in cultural pragmatics,” American Journal of Cultural Sociology

Taylor, Anne. 2022. “Audience Agency in Social Performance,” Cultural Sociology 16(1): 68-85.

Taylor, Anne. 2022. “What is Cultural Sociological Debate? A Review of Lyn Spillman’s What is Cultural Sociology? (2020, Cambridge: Polity Press)” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society This review was written in an exchange with the author, whose response can be found here