Get to Know Us

There are many ways to learn more about the varied projects, events, and other offerings of the center.

line drawing of a person in a chair talking, audience members, and a person with a microphone

About the Center

Washington University in St. Louis established the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics in 2010 as a center of scholarly excellence and public engagement with issues of critical importance in American life.

Director’s Welcome

Welcome to the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. The Center exists to educate people about the vast impact religion, in its many forms, has had on the United States throughout the nation’s history. We do not promote a single ideological perspective, religiously or politically, and we welcome a wide range of viewpoints to our classrooms and discussions. We aim to serve a broad constituent base: faculty and students at Washington University in St. Louis and surrounding academic institutions; Washington University alumni; scholars at other universities and colleges who work on areas relating to religion and politics in the U.S.; journalists and other writers who seek to be informed about these areas; and members of the general public who wish to enhance their own understanding of the ways religion has influenced American politics both historically and in the present.

Please explore this website to learn more about our exciting array of public events, our ever-evolving curriculum for Washington University students, and our multiple other educational resources, including our acclaimed online journal Religion & Politics. Please send us feedback after an event or other encounter with the Center and let us know what you appreciated and what we could be doing differently.

Mark Valeri
Reverend Priscilla Wood Neaves Distinguished Professor of Religion and Politics

Our mission:

The Center serves as an open venue for fostering rigorous scholarship and informing broad academic and public communities about the intersections of religion and U.S. politics.

Our commitments:

  • To support and enhance outstanding scholarly research on the historical and contemporary intertwining of religion and politics.
  • To disseminate excellent scholarship to students and the broad public by means of courses, lectures, conferences, and publications.
  • To foster debate and discussion among people who hold widely different views about religion and politics.