Lerone Martin promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at Washington University in St. Louis

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The John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics is delighted to announce that on December 1, 2017, the Board of Trustees of Washington University in St. Louis voted to promote Lerone A. Martin to Associate Professor with tenure, effective immediately.

“All of us at the Center hold the highest admiration for Professor Martin and his scholarship,” remarked Marie Griffith, Director of the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. “He has already established a prominent reputation across several fields, and his work exhibits an acute perception of the intricate relationship between religion and politics across a wide range of settings. He is also a dedicated, creative, and extremely effective teacher who is widely respected and beloved by our students. We are absolutely delighted that he has earned tenure at Washington University.”

Martin joined the faculty of the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics as Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics in 2014, after a one-year postdoctoral fellowship with the Center.

Martin earned his B.A. from Anderson University in Anderson, IN, and his Master of Divinity Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary before completing his Ph.D. at Emory University in 2011. From 2010-2013, Martin was the Assistant Professor of American Religious History and Culture at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, where he taught courses in American and African American religious history.

“Professor Martin also has an unusually stellar record of academic service,” added Griffith. “Here at WashU he has served on the Mellon Mays Selection Committee, the Rhodes Scholar Nomination Committee, and the University Working Group for Faculty Diversity and Recruitment. He has served as the keynote speaker of the university’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., annual celebration and was the speaker at the 2016 University Convocation. He is also a faculty associate at the William Greenleaf Eliot Residential College, where he works intently on faculty-student interaction and collaboration in social and non-classroom settings. Clearly, Professor Martin is a tremendous asset not only to the Center on Religion and Politics but to the university more widely.”

His first book project, Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Making of Modern African American Religion, (New York University Press, 2014), tracks the role of the phonograph in the shaping of African American religion, culture, and politics during the first half of the twentieth century. It received the Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize for outstanding scholarship by the American Society of Church History and earned the Certificate of Merit for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Currently Martin is researching the historic relationship between religion and the FBI for a book to be titled J. Edgar Hoover’s Stained Glass Window: The FBI and Christian America, which chronicles the work between the FBI and clergy, religious communities, and parachurch organizations to shape a particular vision of a “Christian America.”

In support of his research, Martin has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Louisville Institute for the Study of American Religion, the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning, Emory University’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Fund for Theological Education, and Princeton University’s Program (now Center) for African American Studies.

In 2014, Martin was selected for the Young Scholars in American Religion 2014-16 cohort as one of the top ten pre-tenure scholars in American religion by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He currently chairs the American Academy of Religion (AAR) Committee on Teaching and Learning 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, Religion & Politics, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, as well as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Danforth Center on Religion and Politics was established in 2010 at Washington University in St. Louis. 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. The Center offers undergraduate courses, a minor in religion and politics, public events, and an online journal, Religion & Politics.

For more information about the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, visit the website at