Marla Frederick

Marla F. Frederick

Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion and Culture


PhD, Duke University
BA, Spelman College


(404) 727-6322


Dr. Marla F. Frederick joined the Candler faculty in the fall of 2019. A leading ethnographer, she employs an interdisciplinary approach to examine the overlapping spheres of religion, race, gender, media, politics, and economics. Her teaching interests encompass the anthropology of religion and the African American religious experience, and her ongoing research interests include the study of religion and media, religion and economics, and the sustainability of Black institutions in a “post-racial” world. She is the author of four books and several articles. Most recently, she co-authored Televised Redemption: Black Religious Media and Racial Empowerment (NYU Press, 2016), which examines how Black Christians, Muslims, and Hebrew Israelites use media for the “redemption” of the race.

A frequent lecturer, she has been an active convener, panelist, respondent or discussant at nearly 70 academic events across her career and is a respected research collaborator. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Milton Fund, the Louisville Institute, and the Ford Foundation, among others. She currently serves as the president of the 8,000-member American Academy of Religion, the world’s largest association of scholars in religious studies and related fields.


Co-author, Televised Redemption: Black Religious Media and Racial Empowerment. NYU Press, 2016

Colored Television: American Religion Gone Global. Stanford University Press, 2016

Co-author, Local Democracy Under Siege: Activism, Public Interests and Private Politics. NYU Press, 2007

Between Sundays: Black Women’s Everyday Struggles of Faith. The University of California Press, 2003


“Mediated Missions: The Gospel According to Women” in Missiology: An International Review. Vol. 43(2) 121-136, 2015.

“Johnnetta B. Cole.” Oxford Bibliographies. October, 2014.

“For the Love of Money?: Distributing the Go$pel beyond the United States.” Callaloo January 2013. 36(3):609-617. (Journal Special Issue on “LOVE”)

“Reading Race and American Televangelism” in The Cambridge History of Religions in America: Volume III: 1945 to the Present. Edited by Stephen J. Stein. Cambridge University Press, 2012

“Neo-Pentecostalism and Globalization” in The Cambridge Companion to Religious Studies. Edited by Robert A. Orsi Cambridge University Press, 2012

“North Carolina: A Southerner Mines the Meaning of Progress” Religion and Politics, September 4, 2012

“The Revolution May Not be Televised” Future of Religion: Traditions in Transition. Kathleen Mulhern, ed. Patheos Press, 2012

“Rags to Riches: Religion, Media, and the Performance of Wealth in a Neoliberal Age” in Ethnographies of Neoliberalism. edited by Carol Greenhouse. UPenn Press, 2009

“Becoming Conservative. Becoming White?”: Black Evangelicals and the Para-Church Movement.” with Traci Griffin in This Side of Heaven: Race,Ethnicity, and Christian Faith edited by Robert J. Priest and Alvaro L. Nieves. Oxford University Press, 2007

“’But It’s Bible’: African American Women and Televangelism” in Women and Religion in the African Diaspora. edited by R. Marie Griffith and Barbara Savage. John Hopkins University Press, 2006

“The Marketization of Education: Public Schools for Private Ends” with Lesley Bartlett, Thad Guldbrandsen, and Enrique Murrillo. Anthropology and Education Quarterly 33 (1): 1-25, 2002

Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers, Sponsors, and Collegium of Scholars, Morehouse College, 2021

Elected President of the American Academy of Religion, 2021

Weatherhead Center Grant – Co-Lead on “Religion and Public Life in Africa and the Diaspora” 3-year grant for collaborative research and writing cluster

“Harvard College Professor” – Distinguished Teaching Award, 2016

Cabot Fellow – Harvard University Book Award for Colored Television: American Religion Gone Global, 2016

Weatherhead Center Research Travel Grant, Harvard University, 2010

Radcliffe Institute Fellow, Harvard University, 2008-2009

Center for the Study of World Religions Grant Recipient, Harvard University 2008-2009

Research Fellow, Louisville Institute, 2005-2006

Milton Fund Grant Recipient, 2005-2006

Womanist Scholar, Interdenominational Theological Center, 2002-2003

Post Doctoral Fellow, Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University, 2000-2001

Duke Endowment Fellow, Duke University, 1994-1999

John Hope Franklin Distinguished Teaching Fellow, Duke University, 1999

Women’s Studies Race and Gender Research Award, Duke University, 1998

North Carolina Public Sphere’s Research Fellow, UNC Chapel Hill, 1997-1998

In the media

August 31, 2023

Harvard Divinity School selects first woman as dean in 207-year history

August 24, 2023

Marla Frederick named next dean of Harvard Divinity School

February 9, 2022

Interview: Dr. Marla Frederick, a Preview of the Distinguished Lecture in Religious Studies

November 20, 2021

2021 AAR Presidential Address by Marla Frederick

April 24, 2021

This Sunday, Visit 'PreachersNSneakers' For Fashion, Flexing And For-Profit Faith

January 5, 2021

Warnock, pastor and politician, has role models who did both

November 13, 2020

Rev. Raphael Warnock considers vote sacred as pastor and Senate candidate

October 18, 2020

Despite pandemic, faith leaders increase efforts to mobilize voters

August 27, 2020

Fall 2020 Convocation

August 27, 2020

New Faculty Feature: Marla F. Frederick

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