Gary John Adler Jr. is a sociologist at Penn State University studying culture, religious organizations, civic engagement, and collective action. His main research focus has been the organization of social concern for distant issues and cultural outsiders, particularly how religious organizations produce empathy, tolerance, political behavior or activism. He also studies the connection of cultural change and religious change by examining trends in Catholicism and the symbolic representation of God. Finally, a brand new project looks at how church-state interactions occur at the local level in different regions, different communities, and among different religious traditions.
His research has appeared in a wide range of sociology journals and edited volumes. His book "Empathy Beyond US Borders: the Challenges of Transnational Engagement" comes out in 2019 with Cambridge University Press.