R. Marie Griffith, the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis and current director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, will speak on “Christians, Sex and Politics: An American History,” at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (115 Fayerweather Hall).
Professor Griffith earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia in political and social thought in 1989. She earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. in the study of religion from Harvard University. She was awarded consecutive fellowships at Princeton University and Northwestern University. In 1999, she joined the faculty at Princeton, where she filled several roles. From 1999 to 2003, she was associate director of Princeton’s Center for the Study of Religion. In 2003, she became associate professor of religion and was promoted to professor in 2005. She was later named the director of the Program in the Study of Women and Gender. She returned to Harvard University in 2009 as the John A. Bartlett Professor in the Divinity School, also serving on the faculty committee for the History of American Civilization.
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 2004 book, "Born Again Bodies: Flesh and Spirit in American Christianity," explores the history of Christian-influenced attitudes and practices related to embodiment in modern America, culminating in the evangelical diet and fitness movement. Her next book will be an analysis of sexuality debates in 20th-century American Christianity, titled "Christians, Sex and Politics: An American History."
The event is sponsored by the Willis D. Wood Fund and the Religion Department at Amherst College. It is free and open to the public.