Jonathan Walton, social ethicist and African American religious studies scholar, joined the faculty of Harvard Divinity School in July 2010. Formerly an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of California, Riverside, Walton earned his PhD in religion and society from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also holds a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary as well as a BA in political science from Morehouse College in Atlanta.
His research addresses the intersections of religion, politics, and media culture. Drawing on British cultural studies, Walton explores the interrelationship between the media used by Christian evangelists and the theologies thereby conveyed. He argues for forms of theological innovation within the productions of religious broadcasting that are enabled – perhaps even generated – by the media that evangelists use, and he asks what the implications are for the study of evangelical Christianity when one attends to these particular forms of religious and theological performance. His first book, Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism (NYU Press, 2009), is an important intervention into the study of American religion, as it disrupts commonly held assumptions that associate evangelical broadcasting with white, conservative evangelical communities. Professor Walton has also published widely in scholarly journals such as Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation and Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies.
His current research interests include the development of neo-Pentacostalism in the postwar era and the cultural impact of the prosperity gospel movement in varying global contexts.
- Jonathan Walton
R. Marie Griffith
Director and John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities