Michael Rotolo

Michael Rotolo

Areas of Study

Religion, Culture, Cognition, Morality, Theory


Michael Rotolo is a second year graduate student and University Presidential Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Notre Dame, where he is also an affiliate in the Center for the Study of Religion and Society. Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he received an M.Div at Princeton Theological Seminary (2016) and B.A. in Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2013). He is currently a Research Assistant for the Intergenerational Religious Transmission Project (IRTP) and Global Religion Research Initiative (GRRI).

Drawing on theories from neuroscience and cognition, Michael’s master’s thesis develops an “image schematic” approach to interview data in order to reconstruct how 50 religious Americans of 10 different religious traditions unconsciously understand religion in their lives. His findings contribute to discussions about “how culture works,” highlighting the importance of attending to both embodiment and social environment for understanding culture. His other projects also draw on theories of culture and cognition to study religion and morality.