UNC Press offers our sincere congratulations to Anthea Butler on being awarded the 2022 Martin E. Marty award for the Public Understanding of Religion!
Each year, the American Academy of Religion(AAR) presents this award to an individual whose work helped advance the public understanding of religion. This year, the AAR named Anthea Butler this years Marty Award Winner, making her the first Black woman to ever receive the award.
Anthea Butler is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America and Women in the Church of God in Christ: Making a Sanctified World, both of which we have had the pleasure to work with her on. She is co-director for The Crossroads Project, and currently serves as the President of the American Society of Church History. Her writing has appeared in outlets such as Religion Dispatches, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Guardian, Huffington Post, and Religion News Service.
The AAR stated that “Her work in advancing the public understanding of religion is exemplary: for more than a decade, Dr. Butler has contributed prolifically and powerfully to public digital and media conversations about religion in U.S. politics. . .Social media has become increasingly important to the public understanding of religion: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other such platforms are not without complications, but they are critical spaces where ideas and information are circulated in our virtual public sphere. Dr. Butler has been active on Twitter for more than a decade and is one of the most followed scholars of religion on the platform. Engaging social media requires a set of communications skills that have not traditionally been valued in the academy, and exposure on social media subjects poses risks and pressures that many academics may wish to avoid. Dr. Butler (@AntheaButler) has successfully used Twitter to share her various scholarly projects, her op-ed writing, and to draw on her knowledge, charisma, and character to reach new audiences. Her contributions to the public understanding of religion cannot be fully appreciated apart from her willingness to navigate the social media landscape to engage the public, journalists, and scholars.”
The AAR’s Committee for the Public Understanding noted the bravery and clarity of purpose required for the kind of public voice she has achieved and praised her candor and leadership.
Congratulations, Anthea Butler!