Marla F. Frederick

Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion and Culture
Marla F. Frederick
Phone: 404.727.6322
    • PhD, Duke University
    • BA, Spelman College

    Dr. Marla F. Frederick joined the 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.

    Selected Publications

    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication
    • Faculty Publication


    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

    Chapters and Articles

    “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

    Selected Awards

    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 [ital]Colored Television: American Religion Gone Global[/ital], 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

    WUOT, "Interview: Dr. Marla Frederick, A Preview of the Distinguished Lecture in Religious Studies," (February 9, 2022)

    American Academy of Religion, "2021 AAR Presidential Address: Religion, Inequality, and the Will 'To Stop'" (November 20, 2021)

    NPR, "This Sunday, Visit 'PreachersNSneakers' For Fashion, Flexing And For-Profit Faith" (April 24, 2021)

    Religion News Service, "Warnock, pastor and politician, has role models who did both" (January 5, 2021)

    Religion News Service, "Rev. Raphael Warnock considers vote sacred as pastor and Senate candidate" (November 13, 2020)

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,"Despite pandemic, faith leaders increase efforts to mobilize voters" (October 18, 2020)

    Fall 2020 Convocation, August 27, 2020

    New Faculty Feature: Marla F .Frederick, August 27, 2020