Martin E. Marty Public Understanding of Religion Award

Current and Past Winners

2020

Khaled Abou El Fadl, UCLA School of Law
professor of Islamic Law, known for intellectual courage, longstanding commitment to human rights, and willingness to bring academic expertise to the complex religious and political dynamics that characterized the post–9-11 era

2019

Wade Clark Roof, University of California, Santa Barbara
sociologist of religion, founded and directed the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life

2018

Jacob Olupona, Harvard University
professor of African religious traditions and of African and African American studies, whose work has fostered understanding of religious pluralism in Nigerian civic, academic, religious and political spheres

2017

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Indiana University Bloomington
professor of religious studies and affiliate professor of law, her public scholarship and work as an expert witness have impacted courtrooms, prisons, military units, and government offices

2016

J. Bryan Hehir, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
professor of the practice of religion and public life whose teaching and research focus on ethics and foreign policy and the role of religion in world politics and in American society

2015

Ziba Mir-Hosseini, University of London
scholar-activist and pioneer in the field of Islamic feminism, her work bridges the divide between the academic study of Islam and public understandings of Islam, Muslims, and religious feminisms

2014

Charles Taylor, McGill University (emeritus)
professor of political science and philosophy known for his intellectual work and public discourse in the areas of political philosophy, religion, modernity, and secularism

2013

Wendell Berry
novelist, poet, essayist, academic, and public intellectual; a powerful voice in promoting values that extol land, critique the culture of late capitalism, and support human rights

2012

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Harvard Divinity School
professor of divinity, pioneer of feminist biblical interpretation and theology, co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion

2011

Jonathan D. Sarna, Brandeis University
professor of American Jewish History, chief historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History, and leading public commentator on American Jewish religion and life

2010

Elaine Pagels, Princeton University
historian of religion who has made the academic study of Gnosticism and early Christian history accessible to millions through her best-selling works and public commentaries

2009

James H. Cone, Union Theological Seminary
professor of systematic theology, creator of black liberation theology in the United States, and frequent public commentator on black theology and the African American experience

2008

Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago Divinity School
professor of the history of religions and scholar of Hinduism and mythology: an author, editor, translator, lecturer and commentator

2007

Robert N. Bellah, University of California at Berkeley (emeritus)
sociologist of religion and educator whose influential essays and books have for decades helped shape the academic and public discourse on religion and morality in American society

2006

Andrew M. Greeley, University of Arizona
professor of sociology and frequent public commentator on Catholicism and religion in America

2005

John L. Esposito, Georgetown University
professor of Islamic studies and founding director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, whose publications and public commentary have enhanced the understanding of Islam

2004

Huston Smith, Syracuse University
professor of religion whose published work has introduced millions to the study of world religions

2003

Robert Wuthnow, Princeton University
professor of sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion: his many publications have stimulated public discussion about religion, most recently on the public role of American Protestantism

2002

Diana Eck, Harvard University
professor of comparative religion and Indian studies and director of The Pluralism Project, which documents the growing presence of the Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and Zoroastrian communities in the U.S.

2001

David Knipe, University of Wisconsin at Madison
professor of languages and cultures of Asia and public television producer and public radio commentator on religion

2000

Eileen V. Barker, London School of Economics
sociologist of religion and founder of INFORM, an organization using scholarly research as a basis for informing news media, government officials, and the public about new religious movements

1999

Cornel West, Harvard University
philosopher of religion, writing on issues that particularly confront African Americans

1998

Harvey Cox, Harvard University
sociologist of religion who writes on social and political issues that confront Christianity

1997

Walter Capps (deceased)
psychologist of religion and member of Congress

1996

Martin E. Marty, University of Chicago (emeritus)
historian and frequent public commentator on American religion