Lerone Martin begins new appointment with Danforth Center on Religion and Politics

line drawing of three people talking, one with a micrphone, superimposed on a wall of newspaper clippings

Lerone A. Martin has joined the faculty of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis as Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics effective July 1, 2014.

Martin’s research is situated at the intersection of African American religious history and media studies.  His first book project, Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Making of Modern African American Religion, will appear this fall from New York University Press.  The study tracks the productive alliance that developed between African American preachers and the record industry in the interwar period.   Today’s celebrity preachers, Martin argues, are heirs of the canny innovators of the 1920s and 1930s who effectively exploited the popularity of the phonograph and changed the contours of African American religion.

Martin received a postdoctoral fellowship from the Danforth Center for the 2013-14 academic year.   He taught the undergraduate course “Religion in the African American Experience: A Historical Survey” and presented a public lecture during his postdoctoral stint with the Center.

From 2010 to 2013, Martin was Assistant Professor of American Religious History and Culture at Eden Theological Seminary in Saint Louis, MO, where he taught courses in American and African American religious history.

In support of his research, Martin has also received fellowships from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, the Louisville Institute, Emory University’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Fund for Theological Education, and Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies.

Leigh Eric Schmidt, Acting Director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics for 2014-15 and Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, remarked, “Lerone Martin is a scholar of growing achievement and abundant promise.  He is also a generous colleague and accomplished teacher who will make the Danforth Center all the more compelling for students and fellow faculty members as an intellectual community.”

Martin was selected as a member of the 2014-16 Young Scholars in American Religion program of the Center for the Study of Religion & American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He currently chairs the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Teaching and Learning Committee and serves on the AAR Afro-American Religious History Group as well. In the past, he has worked as a research consultant for continuing education and recidivism at New York’s Sing Sing State Prison, as well as an instructor at Georgia’s Metro State Prison. His commentary and writing have appeared in popular media outlets such as CNN, Religion Dispatches, Charisma, Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Martin earned his B.A. from Anderson University in Anderson, IN, and his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary before completing his Ph.D. at Emory University in 2011.

The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis was established in 2010. It 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. It is named for former U.S. senator from Missouri John C. Danforth, an ordained Episcopal priest who served three terms in the U.S. Senate and also was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.