Marie Griffith is the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis. She served for 12 years (2011-2023) as the director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics and the editor of the Center’s journal, Religion & Politics. Her research focuses on American Christianity, including the changing profile of American evangelicals and ongoing conflicts over gender, sexuality, and marriage.
Professor Griffith obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia in Political and Social Thought and her Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard University. Before moving to Washington University in 2011, she served as professor of religion and director of the women and gender studies program at Princeton University, where she was awarded the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching; and later as the John A. Bartlett Professor of New England Church History at Harvard. In 2015 she was appointed a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.
Griffith is the author or editor of seven books. Her first, God’s Daughters: Evangelical Women and the Power of Submission (University of California Press, 1997), examines the practices and perceptions of contemporary evangelical women. Her next book, Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity (University of California Press, 2004), explores the history of Christian-influenced attitudes and practices related to embodiment in modern America; while Moral Combat: How Sex Divided American Christians and Fractured American Politics (Basic Books, 2017) traces conflicts over sexual morality, feminism, and gender in American religion and politics. Her latest book, Making the World Over: Confronting Racism, Misogyny, and Xenophobia in U.S. History (UVA Press, 2021), urges a re-reading of the nation’s history that opens up greater complexity than our stock narratives. 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, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), Religion and Politics in the Contemporary United States (co-edited with Melani McAlister, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), and American Religions: A Documentary History (Oxford University Press, 2007)—exhibit Griffith’s varied research interests. In addition to her books, Professor Griffith has published numerous scholarly articles, book chapters, and essays.
Griffith is a frequent media commentator and public speaker on current issues pertaining to religion and politics. She is currently writing the first in-depth comparative history of the clergy sexual abuse crises within American Christianity, focusing on the U.S. Catholic Church and evangelical groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention.