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Tipton wins Guggenheim, Louisville, Lilly awards
By April L. Bogle | Emory Law | May 24, 2016 12:05:00 PM

Renowned Emory sociology of religion professor Steven M. Tipton has been awarded three prestigious grants for his research on retirement: a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Researchers, and a grant from the Religion Division of the Lilly Endowment.

Tipton, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Sociology of Religion and a CSLR senior fellow, will apply the awards to The Life to Come: Re-Creating Retirement.  It is a moral and social inquiry into the practical religious meaning of retirement in the everyday experience and social imagination of Americans born in the postwar baby boom and now making up one-third of the nation’s workers set to retire over the next twenty years.  It explores their emerging ethos of retirement with a feel for its saving promise of true self-renewal and graceful fulfillment in the life to come in this world, and it charts the changing institutional pathways and congregational salience of retirement so imagined and pursued.

“Steve Tipton is a brilliant scholar, well deserving of these distinguished grants,” said John Witte, Jr., CSLR director. “He’s done excellent work with our Law and Religion Center, including a groundbreaking book about the role of mainstream churches in the development of American public life.  His forthcoming book on baby boomers in retirement is sure to become a major scholarly achievement.”

Tipton interviewed a cross section of employed Americans from teachers to high tech executives in San Francisco, and from maids to ministers in Atlanta. His findings will be published in a book centered around the themes of retirement rising and receding; retirement in the moral argument of public life since the New Deal; the pastoral implications of iconic advertising and popular genres of therapeutic and financial advice on retirement; and three chapters about baby boomers who are sailing smoothly into retirement, those struggling and striving to get there, and those faced with falling short.

“The dream of a secure and comfortable retirement came true for more and more Americans after World War II. Now the dream is receding. Americans working today face more insecurity in retirement than their parents did, the first such reversal in modern U.S. history,” Tipton writes.

Tipton is one of two Guggenheim Fellows named in the field of religious studies among 180 scholars, artists, and scientists chosen from nearly 3,000 applicants for the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation’s 87th annual competition. He is one of 10 scholars to receive the Louisville Institute Sabbatical Grant for Research in 2011, which is awarded annually to “advance religious and theological scholarship in ways that also address practical issues concerning Christian faith and practice, pastoral leadership, and/or religious institutions.” Louisville Institute is a Lilly Endowment-funded program based at Louisville Seminary.

As a CSLR senior fellow, Tipton has played a significant role in two major research projects: “Sex, Marriage, and Family & the Religions of the Book,”  and “The Child in Law, Religion, and Society.”  His CSLR work includes two books, Family Transformed: Religion Values and Society in American Life (with co-editor Witte) (Georgetown University Press, 2005) and Public Pulpits: Methodists and Mainline Churches in the Moral Argument of Public Life (University of Chicago Press, 2007); numerous book chapters and articles, and the Decalogue Lecture in 2004, “Why Churches Say No: The Challenges Faith-Based Initiatives Pose to Religion and Family.”

Tipton is a member of the faculty of Candler School of Theology and the former director of Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion.