Prof. Anthea Butler (*On leave academic year 24-25)

Geraldine R. Segal Professor in American Social Thought


201 Cohen Hall


Anthea Butler is Geraldine R. Segal Professor in American Social Thought, and chair of the department of Religious 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, Nationalism, race, politics, Evangelicalism, gender and sexuality, media, and popular culture. You can find more of her writing and public engagement at and MSNBC.

Professor Butler courses include Religion from Civil Rights to Black lives Matter, Religion in the African Diaspora, God and Money, Religion and American Politics, and Ritual and Practice in Religious Studies. She is a member of the graduate group in the History department at Penn. 

Butler’s recent book is White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America.  Her first book is Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making A Sanctified World, Both are published by Ferris and Ferris/UNC Press. She is also a contributor to the 1619 Project, with a chapter entitled "Church". 

Prof Butler is the 2022 winner of the Martin E Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, given by the  American Academy of Religion. She was also a Presidential fellow at Yale Divinity School for the 2019-2020 academic year, and in 2018 was awarded a Luce/ACLS Fellowship for the Religion, Journalism and International Affairs grant for the academic year to investigate Prosperity gospel and politics in the American and Nigerian context.  

Professor Butler has served as President for the American Society for Church history and the Society for Pentecostal Studies. She is a member of the American Academy of Religion, American Historical Association, and the International Communications Association. She also is co-PI on The Crossroads Project on African American Religion, hosted at Princeton University. 

A sought-after commentator, Professor Butler is an opinion writer for MSNBC. Her articles have also been featured in the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC, and The Guardian. She has served as a consultant to the PBS series Billy Graham, The Black Church,  God in America and Aimee Semple McPherson




Office Hours
by appointment only

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.

She is currently not accepting applicants for the Doctoral Program in Religion studies due to a impending academic leave.

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. 

American Jesus

Selected Publications

American Academy of Religion

American Historical Association

American Society of Church History

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

International Communications Association