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Thomas Burns

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Thomas Burns


Ph.D., University of Maryland, 1990
Office: KAUF 323
Phone: (405) 325-1751
Pronouns: he/him/his

Research Areas

Comparative and Historical Development, Environment and Human Ecology, Sociology of Health, Social Theory, Statistics and Methods, Social Institutions (particularly Religion, Stratification, Military and Education Systems), Communication and Rhetoric, Enviromental Ethics, Culture and Social Change


Thomas J. Burns is active in the Environmental Studies, Religious Studies and International Relations programs and the Center for Social Justice. His research focuses on social institutions from a comparative and historical perspective, particularly as they pertain to issues of well-being and sustainability. He has published widely on topics that include deforestation, pollution, health and wellbeing outcomes, environmental ethics, social movements, theory, and religion and the environment.

Professor Burns was formerly at the University of Utah, where he chaired the interdisciplinary Master of Statistics (M.Stat) program and was a member of the Sociology faculty. He has served on the Executive Board of the Society for Human Ecology, as Book Review Editor of Human Ecology Review and as a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of World-Systems Research.

Professor Burns regularly teaches courses in World Religions and Society, Environmental Sociology and Social Theory on the University of Oklahoma's Norman campus. He also has taught and lectured at various international venues, including Oxford University and RAF Mildenhall (U.K.), NATO (Belgium), and Moscow State University (Russian Republic). Back in Norman, he leads the university's Evening Meditation Group.

Professor Burns has won teaching awards at the University of Utah and the University of Oklahoma, and is the recipient of the Society for Human Ecology's Distinguished Leadership Award. In 2016, his book with Beth Schaefer Caniglia, Environmental Sociology: The Ecology of Late Modernity, won the Society for Human Ecology's Gerald L. Young International Book Award.