Congratulations to Lerone Martin, newly appointed Director of American Culture Studies!

Lerone A. Martin is Associate Professor of Religion and Politics at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics as well as Associate Professor of African & African American Studies. 

Martin is the author of the award-winning Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Making of Modern African American Religion (New York University Press, 2014), which tracks the role of the phonograph in the shaping of African American religion, culture, and politics during the first half of the twentieth century. The book was the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize for outstanding scholarship in religious history by a first-time author from the American Society of Church History.

In support of his research, Martin has received a number of nationally recognized fellowships and grants, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, The American Council of Learned Societies, The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust, and the Louisville Institute for the Study of American Religion.

Most recently, he received a $250,000 grant from The Teagle Foundation to implement “Citizenship and Freedom: From Plato to Maya,” an intensive three-week summer humanities seminar and school-year civic engagement program for promising, underserved high school students from the St. Louis region enrolled in the university’s College Prep Program

Martin has also been recognized for his teaching, receiving grants and fellowships from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. In 2019 he received the WashU  Dean of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award, while the students in the Washington University College of Arts and Sciences (ArtSci) awarded him the ArtSci Excellence in Teaching Award in Humanities.

Martin earned his B.A. from Anderson University and his Master of Divinity Degree from Princeton Theological Seminary before completing his Ph.D. at Emory University in 2011. Martin joined the WashU faculty in 2014 as Assistant Professor of Religion and Politics.

Martin has served 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. Currently he is an instructor at the Missouri Eastern Correctional Center with the WashU Prison Education Program. His commentary and writing have appeared in popular national media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and CNN.

Lerone is currently writing a book on the relationship between religion, the FBI, and national security in American history, set to be published by Princeton University Press.