Marie Griffith

Marie Griffith


John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities

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Marie Griffith, the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, is currently the director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and the editor of the Center’s journal, Religion & Politics.

Her first major publication was God’s Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission (1997), which examines the practices and perceptions of contemporary evangelical women. Her next book Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (2004), explores the history of Christian-influenced attitudes and practices related to embodiment in modern America, culminating in the evangelical diet and fitness movement. These books, along with her three edited volumes—Women and Religion in the African Diaspora: Knowledge, Power, and Performance (co-edited with Barbara Dianne Savage, 2006), Religion and Politics in the Contemporary United States (co-edited with Melani McAlister, 2008), and American Religions: A Documentary History (2007)—exhibit Griffith’s varied scholarship. Her next book, scheduled for fall 2017, is titled Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics.

Griffith is a frequent media commentator and public speaker on current issues pertaining to religion and politics, including the changing profile of American evangelicals and ongoing conflicts over gender, sexuality and marriage.

 

In the media

Stories

Stakes could not be higher in Supreme Court abortion case

Stakes could not be higher in Supreme Court abortion case

Ahead of the anticipated SCOTUS ruling on landmark abortion case, Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, discussed the Supreme Court case, the history of the abortion debate across religious/political lines and a way forward.
Honoring the latest lives callously stolen by hate

Honoring the latest lives callously stolen by hate

Honoring the latest thirteen lives callously stolen by hate, and so many who came before them, requires audible, visible action, even among those made uncomfortable by public protest. A good start would be refusing to accept the lies coming from the highest levels of our government.
Southern Baptists, gender hierarchy and the road to Trump

Southern Baptists, gender hierarchy and the road to Trump

It is no exaggeration to say that one of the most consequential political events of the 20th century was the conservative/fundamentalist resurgence/takeover in the Southern Baptist Convention. Whether you think it was a good thing or a bad thing, time is showing its broader import and influence to be vast.
WashU Expert: Billy Graham leaves controversial legacy for the #MeToo generation

WashU Expert: Billy Graham leaves controversial legacy for the #MeToo generation

Half-century-old advice from Billy Graham, who died Feb. 21, was in line with cultural and sexual norms of the 1950s and later decades, when many of Graham’s contemporary evangelical preachers fell from grace after widely publicized extramarital affairs, says R. Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.
New book by Griffith tackles timely subject

New book by Griffith tackles timely subject

In her new book, “Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics” (Basic Books, 2017), Washington University’s R. Marie Griffith offers a compelling history of the religious debates over sex and sexuality that came to dominate American public life.
How politics might sour the #MeToo movement

How politics might sour the #MeToo movement

As we plunge once more into a national debate over sex, power, assault and morality, many hope this will finally be the watershed moment in which a full reckoning will take place. We’ve been here before, though, and we’ve seen such hopes fade and get overtaken by self-interested partisan political fights. And it’s happening again.
John Danforth to discuss divided nation Sept. 6

John Danforth to discuss divided nation Sept. 6

Former U.S. Sen. John C. “Jack” Danforth will discuss “Preserving a United Nation: Moving Forward Together Despite Our Differences,” from 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, in Knight Hall’s Emerson Auditorium at Washington University in St. Louis. 
Jews and Muslims turn hate to humanity March 8

Jews and Muslims turn hate to humanity March 8

As America grapples with recent acts of violence against its Jewish and Muslim communities, leaders from these groups will explore responses based on partnership and solidarity in a public forum at 7 p.m. March 8 in Graham Chapel on the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis.
Danforth Dialogues explore future of religion and politics Oct. 8

Danforth Dialogues explore future of religion and politics Oct. 8

“Envisioning the Future of Religion and Politics in America” will be the focus as the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis welcomes national news media superstars Krista Tippett, David Brooks and E.J. Dionne Jr. for a pre-presidential debate dialogue Saturday, Oct. 8, in Graham Chapel on the Danforth Campus.
WashU Expert: Papal attack plays on longstanding fears of white Protestants

WashU Expert: Papal attack plays on longstanding fears of white Protestants

While it may seem bizarre for an American presidential candidate to describe the comments of a sitting pope as “disgraceful,” Donald Trump’s recent attacks on Pope Francis should come as no surprise from a candidate whose success hinges on playing to the fears of religiously inspired voters, suggests an expert on evangelical politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

Lieberman, Danforth to discuss role of religion in politics Dec. 9

Former U.S. senators John C. Danforth and Joe Lieberman will discuss “The Role of Religion in America’s Broken Politics” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 9, in Graham Chapel at Washington University in St. Louis. The event is sponsored by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics as part of the Danforth Distinguished Lecture Series and is free and open to the public.

Prothero to explain why liberals win in America’s culture wars for the Assembly Series

Stephen Prothero, PhD, professor of religion at Boston University and author of numerous books, will explore America’s cultural rifts from a historic perspective for the Assembly Series. The program, free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, in Knight Hall’s Emerson Auditorium. His presentation, “Why Liberals Win: America’s Culture Wars from the Election of 1800 to Same-Sex Marriage,” is a Danforth Distinguished Lecture, sponsored by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.

Washington People: Marie Griffith

Marie Griffith, PhD, is the director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. Griffith, the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, came to WUSTL in 2011 from Harvard Divinity School. Her husband, Leigh E. Schmidt, PhD, Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, is also a faculty member at the Danforth Center.

Griffith installed as Danforth Distinguished Professor in Humanities

Marie Griffith, PhD, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, was installed as the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities during a Sept. 4 ceremony held in Holmes Lounge. Griffith came to WUSTL from Harvard University in 2011 to lead the scholarly and educational center that focuses on the role of religion in politics in the United States. ​

Sandra Fluke kicks off spring lecture series

Attorney and women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke, who last February testified before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on the need to provide access to contraception, will kick off the spring lecture series sponsored by the Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, in Simon Hall’s May Auditorium.

Danforth Center on Religion & Politics hosts open house

Two topics often avoided in “polite conversation” will be the buzz in the room as the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics hosts an open house from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, in its new Umrath Hall location. The celebration offers the community a chance to meet new faculty, mingle with center staff and get an update on recent progress.

Religion & Politics goes live May 1

Religion never has been more central or more polarizing in U.S. politics. To help provide informed context around the religious and political issues that clash, converge and shape everyday public life, a new national online journal, Religion & Politics, from the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis went live May 1.​

Danforth Dialogues set model for civil discourse

A new series, called the Danforth Dialogues, demonstrates how persons with profoundly different views can engage each other forcefully and respectfully. Sen. John C. Danforth moderated the first discussion between Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind. The series is co-sponsored by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics.

Books

Moral Combat

Moral Combat

How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics

The origins of some of the most divisive political conflicts of our age — abortion rights, birth control, gay marriage — did not originate in the 1960s, as some believe, but lie in sharp disagreements that emerged among American Christians a century ago, as historian R. Marie Griffith demonstrates in this compelling book.