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Brian Miller, Ph.D.

Sociology and Anthropology Department

Associate Professor of Sociology
On Faculty since 2009

Phone: (630)752-5117
Email: brian.miller@wheaton.edu


Ph.D. Sociology, 2009, “Not All Suburbs Are Created Equal: The Dynamic Development, Interaction, and Character of Three Chicago Railroad Suburbs,” University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

M.A. Sociology, 2006, “Redeveloping the Cabrini-Green Housing Project: A Sociological Perspective, 1989-2004,” University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN

B.A. Sociology, Anthropology, 2004, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

About Brian Miller

Dr. Miller’s sociological interests include American suburbs (particularly their development, culture, depictions in media, and housing) and cities, culture, McMansions, social network site use among emerging adults, and American evangelicalism and culture. His hobbies include watching the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears, and Chicago Bulls, playing the piano, playing basketball, reading all sorts of non-fiction works, and blogging about his sociological interests and observations at legallysociable.com.

Dr. Miller's CV.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Sociology (Soc 115)
  • The Suburban Church (Soc 220)
  • Contemporary Social Concerns (Soc 238)
  • Culture, Media, and Society (Soc 251)
  • American Suburbanization (Soc 359)
  • Urban Sociology (Soc 364)
  • Statistics (Soc 383)
  • Social Research (Soc 482)

Membership in Professional Societies

  • American Sociological Association
  • Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
  • Religious Research Association
  • Alpha Kappa Delta, national honor society for sociology students


Dr. Miller is working on projects that examine (1) the portrayal of suburbs and McMansions on television and (2) the connections between American evangelicals and suburbs.


Miller, Brian J. Forthcoming. “From I Love Lucy in Connecticut to Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane: Suburban TV Shows, 1950-2007.” Sociological Focus.

Brenneman, Robert and Brian J. Miller. 2016. “When Bricks Matter: Four Arguments for the Sociological Study of Religious Buildings.” Sociology of Religion 77(1):82-101.

Miller, Brian J. 2015. Forthcoming (published online). “Measuring Religion in Different Spatial Contexts: How Surveys Involving Religion Inconsistently Determine Locations.” Review of Religious Research DOI:10.1007/s13644-015-0243-0.

Miller, Brian J. Forthcoming (published online). "A Small Suburb Becomes a Boomburb: Explaining Suburban Growth in Naperville, Illinois." Journal of Urban History DOI:10.1177/0096144214566976.

Miller, Brian J. and Peter Mundey. 2015. “Follow the Rules and No One Will Get Hurt: Performing Boundary Work to Avoid Negative Interactions When Using Social Network Sites.” Information, Communication, and Society 18(2):187-201.

Miller, Brian J. 2014. “Suburban America.” Pp. 844-849 in American Immigration: An Encyclopedia of Political, Social, and Cultural Change, Second Edition, edited by James Ciment and John Radzilowski. Armonk, NY: Sharpe Reference. 

Miller, Brian J. 2013. “Not All Suburbs are the Same: The Role of Character in Shaping Growth and Development in Three Chicago Suburbs.” Urban Affairs Review 49(5): 652-677.

Miller, Brian J., Peter Mundey, and Jonathan P. Hill. 2013. “Faith in the Age of Facebook: Exploring the Links Between Religion and Social Network Site Membership and Use.” Sociology of Religion 74(2):227-253.

Miller, Brian J. 2012. “Competing Visions of the American Single Family Home: Defining McMansions in the New York Times and Dallas Morning News, 2000-2009." Journal of Urban History 38(6):1094-1113.

Miller, Brian J. 2008. "The Struggle Over Redevelopment at Cabrini-Green, 1989-2004." Journal of Urban History 34(6):944-960.


Miller, Brian J. August 2015. Measuring Religion in the American Suburbs: How Surveys Involving Religion Inconsistently Determine Locations. American Sociological Association meetings, Chicago.

Miller, Brian J. August 2015. Passing Decades, Changing Structures: Continuity and Change in the Church Buildings of Three Denominations in the Chicago Region. Association for the Sociology of Religion meetings, Chicago.

Miller, Brian J. November 2014. The Suburbanization of Protestant Churches in the Chicago Region, 1925-1969. Society for the Scientific Study of Religion meetings, Indianapolis.

Miller, Brian J. August 2014. From Father Knows Best to Desperate Housewives: Suburban Television Shows, 1950-2007. American Sociological Association meetings, San Francisco. 

Miller, Brian J. and Peter Mundey. August 2013. Follow the Informal rules to Limit Harm: Avoiding Negative Interactions When Using Social Network Sites. American Sociological Association meetings, New York City.

Miller, Brian J. August 2012. The Holy Suburbs: The Suburban Spatial Logic of American Evangelicals. American Sociological Association meetings, Denver. 

Miller, Brian J., Peter Mundey, Jonathan P. Hill. October 2011. Reading the Writing on the Wall: How Bible Reading Affects SNS Use Among Emerging Adults. Society for the Scientific Study of Religion meetings, Milwaukee.

Miller, Brian J., Peter Mundey, Jonathan P. Hill. August 2011. The Nexus between Sitting in the Pews and Using Facebook: How Religion Affects SNS Use. American Sociological Association meetings, Las Vegas.

Miller, Brian J. August 2010. Not All Suburbs Are the Same: Examining Suburban Character. American Sociological Association meetings, Atlanta.

Miller, Brian J. August 2009. A Two-Edged Sword: The Dynamic and Occasionally Surprising Religious Character of a Chicago Suburb. American Sociological Association meetings, San Francisco.

Media Citations, Unreferred Publications 

Miller, Brian J. 2014. Review of Krattenmaker, Tom. 2013. The Evangelicals You Don't Know: Introducing the Next Generation of Christians, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. Sociology of Religion 75(2):339-340.

Umberger, Mary. 2012. “McMansions: What’s the big deal?” Chicago Tribune, posted online 5/11/12 at http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/sc-cons-0510-umberger-mcmansions-20120511,0,4953030.column.

Tomaso, Bruce. 2012. “Is that house down the street a ‘McMansion’? Depends on whom you ask.” Dallas Morning News, posted online 4/24/12 at http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2012/04/is-that-house-down-the-street.html/. 

Berg, Nate. 2012. “The Widely Variable Definition of ‘McMansion.’” The Atlantic Cities, posted online 4/20/12 at http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2012/04/does-word-mcmansion-actually-mean-anything/1813/.

Sanserino, Michael. 2012. “Tim Tebow's gridiron faith sparks praise, comedic bits and criticism.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, posted online 1/8/12 at http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12008/1202114-66.stm. 

Loza, Cyndi. 2010. “Local woman goes on national tour to promote book about race.” Glen Ellyn News, posted online 5/9/10 at http://www.mysuburbanlife.com/warrenville/ topstories/x2084235434/Local-woman-goes-on-national-tour-to-promote-book-about-race.

Miller, Brian J. “The Dynamic Development, Interaction and Character of Three Chicago Suburbs.” CUSS Newsletter Winter 2010 22(1):12.