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Dr. Rebecca Li


Phone: (609) 771-2546


Office: Social Science Building 314

Spring 2023 office hours:  Mondays 3:30-5:30pm and Thursdays 3:30-4:10pm                   or by appointment

Degrees Earned

  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of California – Riverside
  • M.A. Sociology, University of California – Riverside

Courses Taught

  • Development of Socio-cultural Theories
  • Social and Cultural Change
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Self and Society
  • Faculty-Student Research Course
  • Senior Seminar in Sociology

Research Interest

  • Sociology of Religion
  • State breakdown in Arab Spring Countries
  • Changing Quality of News Reports
  • Commemoration and Social Movement

Recent Research & Activities

  • Examining the social origin of creativity among modern Buddhist thinkers
  • Exploring the intersection between sociological theory and Buddhist practice
  • Examining the structure of commemoration rituals and their contribution to the democratic movement
  • Examining the varying degrees of territorial disintegration in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings in Syria, Egypt, and Tunisia using state breakdown theories


  • 2021.  “Contributions of Jonathan H. Turner to Theoretical Sociology” in Theoretical Sociology: The Future of a Disciplinary Foundation, edited by Seth Abrutyn and Kevin McCaffree.  London & New York: Routledge
  • 2020. “The Social Origin of Creativity: A Sociological Analysis of Master Taixu and Master Sheng Yen as Buddhist Thinkers” Studies of Master Sheng Yen 13: 583-626.
  • 2020. “Chan Practitioners as Agents of Social Change.” Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies 15: 25-51
  • 2016. “Changing Developmental-ness of the State—The Case of China.” in The Asian Developmental State: Reexaminations and New Departures. Edited by Yin-wah Chu. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2015. “Review of Confronting Decline: The Political Economy of Deindustrialization in Twentieth-Century New England.” Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews 44: 669-670.
  • 2005. “Theoretical Contributions of Randall Collins.” In George Ritzer (ed.) The Encyclopedia of Social Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • 2003.  “Why Territorial Disintegration Has Not Occurred in Russia: Applying State Breakdown Theories to Explain Stability.” Sociological Inquiry .  73:3. p. 387-412.
  • 2002. “Alternative Routes to State Breakdown: Toward an Integrated Model of Territorial Disintegration.” Sociological Theory. 20:1. p. 1-23.
  • With S. Brint & W. Cunningham. 1997. “The Politics of Professional in Five Advanced Societies,” in Terry Nichols Clark and Michael Rempel (eds.), Citizen Politics in Post-Industrial Societies. Boulder, CO: Wesview Press.
  • With J. Turner. 1997. “Theories of Revolutions within Historical Sociology,” in Jonathan H. Turner’s, The Structure of Sociological Theory, 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.