Department News

Professor Joseph Williams' interview on Christian Nationalism has become a go-to source for journalists

This report is adapted from an email by John E. Chadwick who is a senior communications writer at SAS.

In March 2021, Joseph Williams, a professor of religion, was interviewed by the SAS Communications & Marketing about Christian nationalism in the wake of January 6. The interview was published on SAS website in March 2021.

Some 18 months after the Q&A  was published on the SAS website, Williams' responses in the interview continue to make it into news stories as direct quotes on a regular basis. In fact, the Q&A has become a go-to source for journalists, everywhere from USA Today to Newsweek. 

The following are a few examples as well as the original piece.  (The USA Today piece has a subscription wall.)

Original StoryChristian Nationalism Explained: An Interview with Rutgers Professor Joseph Williams  (SAS Homepage March 4, 2021)

Marjorie Taylor Greene, other conservatives lean into Christian nationalism. What is it?  (USA Today, Aug. 9, 2022)  

Trump Ally Defends Christian Nationalism as 'Good and Healthy'  (Newsweek, July 27, 2022)

‘No apology’ for cross shape for rebuilt Jersey Shore pier, religious group says  (Star Ledger, Aug. 28, 2022)

Majority of Republicans want US declared a Christian nation   (News Radio 1080, Sept. 21, Audacy, 2nd largest radio company in U.S.) 

Christian Nationalism Explained: An Interview with Rutgers Professor Joseph Williams

From Rutgers Today:

The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol drew attention to a number of extremist movements including the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory. The throngs of attackers also included Christian nationalists, whose ranks may overlap with the groups above but who also constitute a movement that has been growing for decades. Joseph Williams, a professor in the Department of Religion, studies American religious history, including the relationship between religion and politics. Christian nationalism is among the topics he covers in "Religions Now: 21st Century Controversies," the SAS Signature Course he teaches with Professor Tia Kolbaba. You can watch Kolbaba's recent Scarlet Speakers talk on these issues here.

Here's the link to the full interview with Joseph Williams.


Religion Department invites applications for Visiting Research Associate

Department of Religion at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, invites applications for Visiting Research Associate. These positions do not come with financial compensation, but Visiting Research Associates will receive full library access and institutional affiliation for the duration of the appointment. Visiting Research Associates are expected to participate in the life of the department by attending departmental talks (remotely or in-person) and sharing their research through presentations and/or informal conversations. We also ask that the department and the university be acknowledged in any publications that result from the period of affiliation.

Read more: Religion Department invites applications for Visiting Research Associate



This course introduces students to the academic study of religion by focusing on four major areas of inquiry: myth; religious authority; purity and sacred space; and ritual practices. We will draw on diverse source material, including Indian, Muslim, Greek, Chinese, and Christian traditions but maintain a focus on the appropriation and re-interpretation of these traditions in the modern, secular west. Sub-topics will include popular notions of “cults,” magic, and illegitimate religion; race, ethnicity, and gender; religious fundamentalism and violence; and debates about religion and science in the 20th and 21st centuries. Another goal will be to familiarize students with major theories of religion, including the work of E. B. Tylor, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim, Clifford Geertz, and Bruce Lincoln as well as contemporary Cognitive Science research


Instructor: Dr. Erik Dreff 

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Religion and the Arts
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A window into the world of religion through the arts.

This course will survey the ways the arts are used in religion and religion is used in the arts, with a focus on visual arts, music, dance, and drama.