Leigh Eric Schmidt

Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor of the Humanities

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Biography

Schmidt is widely published as a cultural historian, essayist and reviewer, who has written extensively on American spiritual seeking, holiday conflicts, evangelical Protestantism and liberal religious traditions. His numerous publications include Heaven’s Bride: The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American Mystic, Scholar, Sexologist, Martyr, and Madwoman (2010); Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality (2005; updated 2nd ed., 2012); Consumer Rites: The Buying and Selling of American Holidays (1995); and Hearing Things: Religion, Illusion, and the American Enlightenment (2000), winner of the 2001 American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in Historical Studies and the 2001 John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association.

WashU in the News

Ask An Atheist

1A (NPR)

Leigh Schmidt, the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, Arts & Sciences

How Should Atheism Be Taught?

The Atlantic

Leigh Schmidt, the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, Arts & Sciences

Stories

Monuments to unbelief

Monuments to unbelief

In such times – when white evangelicals gave the world Donald Trump – the God of the U.S. might well deserve anew the irreverence of Paine, Ingersoll, Darrow and Roman. The architects of the Satanic Temple, Greaves and company are among the latest bearers of that humanistic, freethinking impertinence.
Schmidt’s book named one of fall’s ‘most anticipated’

Schmidt’s book named one of fall’s ‘most anticipated’

“Village Atheists: How America’s Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation,” the most recent book by Leigh Eric Schmidt, the Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities, has been named by Publishers Weekly to its list of most anticipated books of fall 2016.

Christmas culture wars are nothing new, experts say

Tis the season for perennial battles between true believers and atheists, between mass marketers and the devout souls who worry about blatant commercialization of “the holiday season.”  While it may seem like it’s getting worse then ever, learning more about the facts behind these arguments might help all of us understand one another a bit better, suggest legal and religious history experts at Washington University in St. Louis.

Books

Village Atheist cover

Village Atheists

How America’s Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation

What does it mean to be atheist in America? Leigh Eric Schmidt, the Edward C. Mallinckrodt ­Distinguished University Professor at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, tells the history of American secularism in his book Village Atheists.