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Matthew Cressler

Assistant Professor

Address: 4C Glebe Street, Room 105
Office Hours: TTh 3-4:45 pm or by appointment
Phone: 843.953.1026

Matthew Cressler grew up in Auburn, Alabama. He teaches courses on religion in America, African American religions, and theory and method in religious studies.

In his own words

Matthew J. Cressler is a religious studies scholar whose teaching and research areas include African American religions, Catholic studies, religion in America, and theory in the  study of religion, with a special interest in the intersection of religion, race, and nationalism. He specializes in black Catholic history. He is completing a book manuscript titled From Conversion to Revolution: The Rise of Black Catholic Chicago (under contract with New York University Press).  Matthew is coming to the College of Charleston by way of Earlham College, where he served as a jointly-appointed visiting professor of Religion and African and African American Studies, and Northwestern University, where he earned his doctorate in 2014.  As someone raised in Alabama, Matthew is excited to be returning home to the South!

Matthew is also an Affiliate Faculty Member in African American Studies.


Ph.D. Religious Studies, Northwestern University

M.T.S. Religions of the Americas, Harvard Divinity School

B.A. History and Theology, St. Bonaventure University

Research Interests

  • Religion in America
  • African American religions
  • Religion, race, and nationalism
  • Catholicism in the United States
  • Theory and method in religious studies

Courses Taught


In Progress

  • From Conversion to Revolution: The Rise of Black Catholic Chicago (book manuscript)


  • Editor, “Forum: Race, White Supremacy, and the Making of American Catholicism,” American Catholic Studies, Vol. 127 No. 3 (Fall 2016): 1-33.
  • “Black Power, Vatican II, and the Emergence of Black Catholic Liturgies,” U.S. Catholic Historian, Vol. 32 No. 4 (Fall 2014).
  • “Black Catholic Conversion and the Burden of Black Religion,” Journal of Africana Religions, Vol. 2 No. 2 (2014): 280-287.
  • “Ground Zero and the ‘S-word,’” Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Vol. 39 Nos. 1&2 (Winter/Spring 2011): 11-14.