Jeffrey Guhin

Jeffrey Guhin

Associate Professor

Office: 296 Haines Hall


Phone: 310-206-8660

Personal Website

Curriculum Vitae

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I am interested in how moral life works, especially in schools and religious groups.

My research interests include education, culture, religion, and theory. My first book, Agents of God: Boundaries and Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools, came out in January 2021. My current work follows two key theoretical concerns: (1) the relationship between achievement, alienation, and well-being, and (2) the relationship between self-conception and perceived social and political obligations. I am especially interested in how these relationships play out in religious and educational contexts. While my two current book projects center public education, I have various articles about religion and, ideally, a future book project will bring together my interests in religion and schools, perhaps through a study of secularism in public education. While I always have various things happening at once, my main two projects are these:

  1. A theory book titled Against Achievement: What Meritocracy Misses About Schools. Under contract with Columbia University Press, I use this book and some accompanying articles to explore how social scientists, policymakers, and even parents and teachers too often emphasize the external goods of education, thereby strengthening an ideology of meritocracy, alienating teachers and students, and obfuscating more radical solutions to socio-economic and racial inequality. This book will be published in 2025. The first article from this stream was published at Theory & Society in 2022: School beyond Stratification: Internal goods, alienation, and an expanded sociology of education.
  2. Another book under contrast with Columbia University press titled Magical Citizenship: Self and Social Obligation in American Schools. This will be a three-part investigation of schooling, citizenship, and social obligation in the United States, tracing the intellectual origins of magical citizenship, its historical development in American schooling, and, via ethnographic interviews in two high schools each in New York City, San Diego, and Charlotte, NC, how it affects understandings of good schools, good teachers, and good students. I’ve already used data from this project hereand outlined it here.


PhD, Yale 2013
BA, Loyola New Orleans 2003