Anthea Butler

Professor of Religious Studies and Africana StudiesChair of Religious Studies

201 Cohen Hall



Anthea Butler is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.  A historian of African American and American religion, Professor Butler’s research and writing spans African American religion and history, race, politics, Evangelicalism, gender and sexuality, media, and popular culture. You can find more of her writing and public engagement at


Professor Butler courses include Religion from Civil Rights to Black lives Matter, Religion in the African Diaspora, Religion and American Politics, and Ritual and Practice in Religious Studies. She holds an appointment in Africana Studies at Penn, and is part of the graduate group in the History department.


Her books include Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making A Sanctified World,  published by The University of North Carolina Press. Her current projects include two books for UNC Press, White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America, out in Spring 2021, and Reading Race: How Publishing created a lifeline for Black Baptists in Post Reconstruction America.


Professor Butler was awarded a Luce/ACLS Fellowship for the Religion, Journalism and International Affairs grant for 2018-2019 academic year to investigate Prosperity gospel and politics in the American and Nigerian context. She was also a Presidential fellow at Yale Divinity School for the 2019-2020 academic year.


Professor Butler currently serves as President Elect of the American Society for Church history, and is also member of the American Academy of Religion, American Historical Association, and the International Communications Association.


A sought-after commentator on the BBC, MSNBC, CNN, The History Channel and PBS, Professor Butler regularly writes opinion pieces covering religion, race, politics and popular culture for The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, and The Guardian. She has also served as a consultant to the PBS series God in America and the American Experience on Aimee Semple McPherson Currently she serves as a consultant for two forthcoming series on PBS:  Evangelicalism and Billy Graham, and the Black Church in America.





Ph.D., Religion, Vanderbilt University, 2001

Research Interests

Prof. Butler's research interests are Religion and Politics, Racism, African America Religious History, Pentecostalism, Fundamentalism, and Religion in the Media.

Research Areas
American Religion & Politics
Religion and Media
African American Religion
Courses Taught

God And Money

Religion from Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter

Religions of the African Diaspora

Muslims, Christian and Jews 700-1500 History and Memory in Spain. 

Selected Publications

Women in the Church of God in Christ, Making A Sanctified World, University of North Carolina Press

A Scholar in Zion, Sister Saints: Mormon Women Since the End of Polygamy, Colleen McDaniel, Oxford University Press, 2019. in Mormon Studies Review, v 7, 2020, p 61-72

Forthcoming Book Spring 2021
White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America, UNC Press

NBC Think
White Evangelicals love Trump and aren't Confused about why. No one else should be either. 

Faith Can bring us Together, but too often it divides us 

For a more extensive list of publications see



American Academy of Religion

American Historical Association

American Society of Church History

Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)


CV (file)