Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Princeton University
Website URL
African American religious history, 20th century U.S. religious history, race and religion in the U.S., African American women and religion, religion and American film
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I teach in the Department of Religion at Princeton University where I am the Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion and Associated Faculty in the Department of African American Studies and the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies.

My research focuses on early twentieth-century African American religious history, and I have been especially interested in the relation of religion to constructions of race; the impact on black religious life of migration, immigration, and urbanization; African American women’s religious history; and religion in film and popular culture. I am currently an editor of the journal Religion & American Culture.

Recent Publications


New World A-Coming: Black Religion and Racial Identity during the Great Migration (NYU Press, 2016)

[Winner of the 2017 Albert J. Raboteau Prize for the Best Book in Africana Religions]

Hollywood Be Thy Name: African American Religion in American Film, 1929-1949 (California, 2007)

African American Women and Christian Activism: New York’s Black YWCA, 1905-1945 (Harvard, 1997)

Recent Articles and Essays

“Race, Religion, and Documentary Film,” in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Race in American History, eds., Paul Harvey and Kathryn Gin Lum (Oxford University Press, forthcoming March 2018), 288-303

“’Real True Buds’: Celibacy and Same-Sex Desire in Father Divine’s Peace Mission Movement,” in Gillian A. Frank, Bethany Moreton, and Heather White, eds., Devotions and Desires: Histories of Sexuality and Religion in the Twentieth Century United States (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), 90-112

Religion on Display at the National Museum of African American History and Culture,” Sacred Matters, January 3, 2017

A Dreadful and Improbable Creature: Race, Aesthetics, and the Burdens of Greatness,” Sacred Matters roundtable on The Birth of a Nation at 100, April 21, 2016.

Media Coverage
WHYY Newsworks Tonight (2/2017), KPFA Upfront (4/2017), Religious Studies Project Podcast (6/2017), AAS21 Podcast (8/2017)
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
Expertise by Topic
Gender, Race, Religion, Women