Martin E. Marty Lectureship on Religion in American Life

The Martin E. Marty Lectureship was established in 2005 in honor of Martin E. Marty, the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Divinity School and author of over fifty books. Some of his best-known books are Righteous Empire, which earned a National Book Award, a multi-volume work entitled Modern American Religion, The One and the Many: America’s Search for the Common Good, and Under God, Indivisible. Marty has received scores of national awards and 72 honorary doctorates. The Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago was founded in1998 to honor him upon his retirement.

Professor Marty is a sought-after commentator on American religious and spiritual trends in the United States. He is an expert on religious issues beyond the walls of academia. The Marty Lectures at the Capps Center cover a broad range of topics including interfaith relations in a pluralistic society, civil religion, religious influence on politics, religion and ethics, religious and spiritual trends, the United States and global religions, and other related issues.

The Marty Lectureship has enormous visibility across the United States, partly because of the name it bears, but also because of the stature of the commentators it attracts. Marty Lecturers give a public lecture in downtown Santa Barbara, which is videotaped for UCTV and shown across California and elsewhere in the country. In addition, the lecturers meet with local members of the community for extended discussion.

Martin E. Marty himself gave the inaugural lecture, Mapping American Spiritualities, on April 14, 2005. 

Marty Lectures

The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover: How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism. Lerone A. Martin (Stanford University), February 20, 2024.

Walter Capps and the Study of Religion. Edward Linenthal, Wendy Wright, Tomoko Masuzawa, Julie Ingersoll, and Sarah McFarland Taylor, November 10, 2023.

Follow the New Way: How American Refugee Policies Changed Hmong Religious Life. Melissa May Borja (University of Michigan), April 25, 2023.

Is the Black Church Dead? Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. (Princeton University), June 7, 2015. 

God is Not One: Religious Tolerance in an Age of Extremism. Stephen Prothero (Boston University), January 26, 2013. 

Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America. Eboo Patel (Interfaith Youth Core), April 17, 2013.

Culture War Games: Religion and the 2012 Election. Amy Sullivan (former senior editor at TIME Magazine and author of The Party Faithful), April 10, 2012. 

The Desert and the Experience of God. Richard Rodriguez (George Foster Peabody Award winner and Pulitzer Prize nominee), April 21, 2011. 

Are America's Religous Wars Ending? E.J. Dionne, Jr. (The Washington Post), April 20, 2010.

Spirituality and Culture. Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B. (Benetvision), April 2, 2009. 

The Book of Revelation: Who Wrote It and Why It Matters Now. Elaine Pagels (Princeton University), March 16, 2008. 

A Spiritual Progressive Encounters the War Machine in America. Rev. George Regas (All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California), March 22, 2007.

The Secular, the Religious, and the Demands of Citizenship. Peter Steinfels (The New York Times), March 19, 2006.